Caritas helps villagers with clean water

Sand filters donated to combat waterborne diseases in suburbs of Karachi

Caritas helps villagers with clean water
Ayyaz Gulzar, Umar Brohi Goth, Pakistan

May 12, 2011

Caritas Pakistan has begun installing water filters in outer suburbs of Karachi exposed to waterborne diseases. The program began yesterday when the archdiocesan office of Caritas distributed and installed 15 BioSand filters in Umar Brohi Goth. The Church staff also demonstrated using the filter, which is composed of two earthen pots. Each unit costs 1800 rupees (US$ 22) and applies the centuries-old technique of using layers of sand and gravel to purify the water. The distribution was part of Caritas' livelihood program which is also promoting kitchen gardening and fuel efficient stoves in the village. “We sent the water for test at a research facility after local nuns described children getting ill with fever. The reports revealed that the water is causing diarrhea and cholera”, described Dominic Gill, executive secretary of Caritas in Karachi. While two filters were installed in open streets, the rest were handed over to 19 families - two Hindu and 17 Christians. One of them, Saleem Inayat, father of 11 children, said: “Two or three get sick every other week. I have already taken advance salary of two months for their medication.” The concerns of villagers grew after a youth died last year. “Even the water bought from water tankers and pumps is contaminated”, he added. Water shortages and faulty supply systems are a major crisis in the country's biggest city and industrial hub. Media reports say five million people, including 230,000 children, die every year of waterborne diseases in the country. PA14201