In recent weeks, mercury in Pakistan has repeatedly reached 50 degrees. In the arid region of the Indus in the southeast of the country, women have to bring water to their homes at the expense of intense physical labor.
“After I get up in the morning to serve tea to the family, I leave my kids to fetch water. It can take an hour, two or three hours or sometimes even the whole day. Then I go home, I take care of my family, I wash the clothes or I I look after the house. I go to the well all day to fetch water “, a summary of Khaitur in the Tout on Monday program.
In the village of his 1,300 lives, Das Ji Dhani, a single well supplies water to residents who stand in line for hours waiting for their turn.
To meet the needs of ten members of her family, the young woman has to cover 300 meters of slopes and steep paths several times a day, even if it means taking risks.
“We like to go to a team, if possible with an older woman. We do it so that the youngest of us doesn’t feel isolated. It protects us from bad encounters,” explains Khaitu, who feels abandoned by the provincial like other women. The government did
“The government did nothing for us about water. They gave us nothing: no projects, no roads, no infrastructure to collect water. To collect votes”, the young woman did not pick up.
“The weather has changed”
The local government has built a well to purify the water coming from the soil a few kilometers away from Khaitu village. Fatima, 40, has to walk four kilometers from her village Kharo Dangro. This task has become increasingly difficult due to climate change and prolonged drought.
“It has become very difficult to collect water. The weather has changed lately. It used to rain in June or July. Now it is more in August or September. Getting water back has become a real problem even from there. The well is salty,” said Fatima.
The water collected in the plastic canister is then poured into terracotta containers. It will be used primarily to feed seven members of the family, but will also be used for herding cattle, cooking, and washing linen. All of these requirements require several trips a day and can take up to nine hours a day.
NGOs replace the authorities
Local authorities have nevertheless taken multiple initiatives to ensure access to water for the residents of the desert district of Tharparkar, which has a population of about two million.
“Solar water pumps have been installed in the most isolated villages, which have suffered the most due to lack of water. We have also built water retention basins. All these initiatives guarantee us water supply for the residents for several months,” explained Sara. Jabed, local government assistant.
Problem: Many infrastructures set up by local authorities no longer work. Recently, the employees in charge of the pump went on strike without getting paid.
Nasira Rana from the Soccer Foundation explained that NGOs are trying to fill the gaps. “We supply underground rainwater harvesting tanks, which filter the water so that it is drinkable. These reserves do not last all year round, but they provide daily demand for at least three to four months.”
The association has already built 2,000 reservoirs in 300 villages in the Tharparkar Desert.
Deficit by 2025?
Despite these initiatives, the future of its residents is worrisome. A report in Sindh province released in late May said the number of suicides in the region was on the rise, mainly affecting women. The reasons are significantly lack of drinking water and poverty.
In Pakistan, 72% of women who take care of their family’s water needs are often deprived of their education. The country will face an extreme water crisis by 2025 due to climate change.
Radio Report: Elodie Goulesque
Web Adaptation: Jérémie Favre