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Drought leaves thousands without drinking water in Samangan

Drought leaves thousands without drinking water in Samangan

Jan 12, 2011 - 11:02

AIBAK (PAN): Thousands of families in mountainous areas of northern Samangan province have been without fresh water for nearly two months, forcing them to travel by car and donkey to seek out new sources.

Although there have been two snowfalls over the last week, the lack of rain means the traditional reservoirs, known as kundas, are empty.

“The drinking water has finished in the village, so each week we travel to the city and fill up 10 jerrycans of water and pay 15 to 20 afghanis for each jerry can,” said Muhammad Ismail, 36, a resident of Shir Darah Shirkiar of Aibak city.

All the residents of Shirkiar district face the same problems, he said, adding, those families with no money must transport their water by donkey from Shalkato village, 20 kilometres away.

Shirkiar district is a mountainous area, 50 kilometres east of Aibak city. There are 11 villages with about 1,000 families who live there.

About 2,000 families in Dara Sof Payen district are also faced with the same problem.

Each morning, one person from each family must walk for many kilometres to fetch water for homes, Muhammad Sardar, 34, a resident of Sher Ali village, said.

"If our problem is not solved, we are forced to take refuge in other areas," he said.

Last month the issue was discussed with the provincial developmental council, in which representatives of foreign and domestic groups also participated, the provincial council head, Dr. Ziauddin, said.

If the drought continues and government does not pay attention to the problem, the residents would be forced to leave the area. But a government official said that they had not been informed about the issue.

If asked, the rural rehabilitation and development department would supply water to the area if the residents could pay for the fuel of three water supply tankers, Eng. Muhammadi said.

The governor's spokesman, Muhamamd Siddique Azizi, said foreign aid groups should dig wells for the people and if the draught continues, the central government should make a plan to supply water to those areas.