Maungdaw, Arakan State: There is an acute shortage of safe drinking water in Maungdaw Township, Arakan State since March as lakes and ponds have dried up, said a local elder from northern area of Maungdaw Town.
Most of the deep or shallow tube-wells installed by some NGOs are defunct because of salinity in the water. Besides, salinity also makes water in local ponds unfit for drinking.
As a result, villagers have to walk long distances in the scorching heat to fetch “relatively safe” water from a few ponds, canals or streams, said a school teacher.
Due to the prevailing situation, water-borne diseases have broken out in an epidemic form in some villages. Crisis of safe drinking water has also taken an alarming turn in a large area of Maungdaw Township and some of the villages near the bottom of the mountains are the only sources of safe drinking water.
Many villagers have to go to areas where drinking water is available on foot or by row boats to fetch safe drinking water from tube-wells. Even domestic animals are suffering from drinking water crisis, the teacher added.
Some NGOs provided tube-wells in Maungdaw Township but it is insufficient for the villages. Some villages have been provided two or three tube-wells while some other villages have not got any tube-well. Most of the tube-wells are inoperative due to salinity in the water. These places are mostly on the Naff River bank.
The NGOs, working on providing drinking water and sanitation in northern Arakan have to look into this matter, said a local businessman.