China earthquake one year later: Building better water access
Zhao Haihong lives in a remote, mountainous village of 720 people in Li County. When Oxfam colleagues met her, she was washing clothes in grey water that had been used several times already.
There has always been a water shortage here, and the earthquake made it worse: the drinking water and irrigation system that had been built by the local government was damaged.
To assist Haihong and other villagers, Oxfam allocated HK$550,330 (USD$ 71,000) to support a water project. By August 2009, everyone should have clean water to drink and wash with, and everyone’s farmland (870 acres) should be irrigated.
“Due to the lack of water in the past, we were never able to grow fruit or vegetables to make more money. With the new irrigation system, we can start.” Although construction is still underway, Haihong is already planning – she will grow apples and vegetables on top of raising pigs and cows. “I also want to build a bathroom so that my children can take a shower every day. If there is no water, none of this can happen.”
Haihong says, “The whole village has to take part in the construction project. I am responsible for digging holes to store the water.” With everyone participating, everyone is assuming responsibility for the future, for the development of their community and their lives.