Disease risk for poor villagers drops through sponsored digging of freshwater wells
Caritas in Vietnam is helping villagers from a central mountainous province combat disease caused by polluted water by funding the digging of freshwater wells. “During the past year, we’ve offered 135 families money to dig wells and build concrete water storage containers, Father Marcel Doan Minh, head of Caritas in Da Nang diocese, said. The families are from two mountain villages, Binh Lam and Que Trung, in Quang Nam province. Father Minh said families living close together share a well while more isolated families have their own wells, which reach a depth of 32-37 meters and cost four million dong (US$190) each. The project aims to provide clean water for local villagers who often get sick because their water supplies came from mountain streams polluted by dead animals and leaves, he explained. During the dry season from April to September, they had to walk 5-7 kilometers to take water from a river that is polluted by people digging for gold, he added. He said without Caritas’ help local villagers would not be able to afford to dig the wells. According to local health-center records in 2009, five out of 61 people suffering from diarrhea died, 97 people complained of sore eyes and 163 people had various skin diseases. Nguyen Dang Phuong, a follower of Cao Dai, a Vietnamese religious movement, said he dug a well and built a five cubic meter water container in February after Caritas offered him five million dong and 100 kilograms of cement. “We are happy to finally have clean water for ourselves and our cattle. We are deeply grateful to the Church for its help,” Phuong said. The 57-year-old farmer said he earns 200,000 dong a month so could not afford to dig a well. Father Minh said Caritas is also helping build toilets for villagers, organizing garbage disposal and providing free health care and food for women. Related reports Parish Supplies Clean Water For Those Who Need ItCaritas workers learn disaster-management skills VT13807.1647
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