TALOQAN (Pajhwok): Residents of Baharak district in northern Takhar province say more than 3,000 families in the district lack access to clean drinking water and use polluted water which cause them various diseases.
Baharak district is located 16km away from Taloqan city. Its residents say the district had been a frontline during the past 20 years of conflict and as a result it was ignored during the period.
Mohammad Zahir, a resident of Payan Ab area of the district, told Pajhwok Afghan News that local residents often contracted water-borne diseases due to consumption of unhealthy water.
He said: “The last time it was three days ago when I had a stomach ache. I went to the doctor. After examination, the doctor said I had a disease that is caused by contaminated water. The doctor prescribed me medicines worth 3,000 afghanis. I face economic problems and don’t have money to buy them.”
He added that in recent years, Payan Ab area of Baharak district had been the war zone and therefore the previous government and donors could pay attention to solving problems of the people.
“But now security is ensured, we ask the current government and institutions to solve our problems”.
Mohammad Hanif, another resident, said the area residents had been lacking access to clean drinking water since past 50 years and they consumed contaminated water from open ponds. He said most children suffer from diarrheal diseases and adults suffer from various other diseases.
According to him, health centers are also located away from local people who cannot take their patients to doctors soon and sometimes they do not receive any treatment due to lack of facilities.
Mohammad Ebrahim, another resident, said sulfur (a chemical element) existed underground in the area and well water was bitter. “Healthy drinking water is available more than 10 kilometers away and people do not have access to it”.
According to him, sewage and toilet water discharged from home mixes with pond water which people use out of necessity.
Nazar Mohammad, a local resident, claimed his two young children died due to consumption of stagnant and unclean pond water.
Abdul Majeed, social and development affairs head of Baharak district, he acknowleged problems mentioned by the people.
He said the residents were facing serious problem in terms of lack of safe drinking water and the government should pay attention to solving the issue.
Meanwhile, Eng. Mohdullah Hameed, head of programs at the provincial Rural Rehabilitation and Development department, told Pajhwok the problems of Baharak residents had been discussed in several meetings with institutions.
He said: “Until a water supply network is built, we are trying to provide healthy water to this area through tankers so that the local people can be saved from diseases.”