Relief activities for water contamination Sri Lanka
At the end of February, ground water pollution in Jaffna district, Sri Lanka has created a severe crisis where water cannot be used for drinking, cooking, hygiene and cultivation. The only source in the area is ground water via home-based and community wells. Wells are coated with thick layers of oil and water has been declared unfit for use. Drinking water is the greatest concern and the pollution is spreading rapidly. Reasons are being investigated ranging from disposal of oil waste, excessive chemical fertilizer use etc. Over 100,000 people are in need of drinking water and as an immediate relief, the government is supplying water via bowsers to the residents and water storage tanks placed in vantage locations to assist families get their basic water requirement.
A-PAD Sri Lanka visited Jaffna and met with local officials and community representatives in identifying the crisis in order to render emergency assistance. They also met with the Government Agent/District Secretary of Jaffna, Assistant Director of the District Disaster Management Centre, Divisional Secretariat officials, private sector and civil society representatives. While the government and a few agencies are involved in relief assistance, the demand cannot be met and the number of contaminated wells are increasing. The immediate need is to establish more water collection points for communities to have access to water. The current supply is well below the Sphere Minimum Standards of water requirement per person per day in the affected areas.
A-PAD MO is supporting A-PAD Sri Lanka in increasing water collection points in the affected areas. 100 water tanks with capacity to hold 1000 liters per tank and fixed with taps was committed to be placed in vantage areas to assist communities in their basic water needs for drinking, cooking and hygiene purposes. The placement of water points takes into consideration the protection issues of women and children ? to reduce their vulnerability when collecting water. For the month of March, 50 water tanks have been placed in 4 divisions in Jaffna. Each 1000 liter tank supports approximately 25-35 families obtain their daily requirement of water subject to continuous supply of water via bowsers.
A-PAD Sri Lanka is continuing to coordinate with the local authorities to support the affected population’s needs.