Five months after mudslides completely destroyed her home in Uyali village in Tajikistan’s southern district of Khuroson, Momogul Sharipova, in her 60s, moved to a brand new government-built house, but there is a major problem: it has no toilet.
Asked where their toilet is, one of Momogul's sons smiled and said: "No toilet," shifting his gaze to the field across the road.
Momogul’s house is in the new settlement of Shokhrukh, purpose-built for 135 households (roughly 1,000 people) displaced by spring floods and mudslides.
"At least 50 percent of the girls go to the field across the highway to relieve themselves,” Nasiba Mavlonova, a nurse at Shokhruhk's clinic, told IRIN.
"I have arguments with my husband every day. I’ve asked him to build a wall around our new house so that we can have our privacy and go to the toilet in peace. According to our culture, no woman or teenage girl can go to the toilet when there are males around," she added.
Asadullo Muminov, head of the Uyali village council, told IRIN only 30 percent of the 135 houses built in Shokhrukh have toilets. He admitted it was a “problem”, but said neither the local council nor local people had the money to install them.
The spring floods and mudflows affected 40 districts, killed 26 people and displaced well over 3,000 people. Over 2,000 houses, hospitals, schools and other buildings were abandoned, according to the 12 August Early Recovery Appeal - Tajikistan Floods and Mudflows by the Rapid Emergency Assessment and Coordination Team (a local team comprised of government bodies, UN agencies and NGOs).
The appeal includes projects to provide safe latrines to 4,650 affected people, however, funds are lacking to build those latrines.
Photo: Alimbek Tashtankulov/IRIN
Makeshift open pit latrines are a source of infection, according to experts
“Not very useful”
"We have a toilet, but it is not very useful. We need one that we can clean and use multiple times," Halima Atajonova, who works at Uyali's health centre, told IRIN.
"We are 12 people, including six of my grandchildren, in a three-bedroom house and the toilet we have [traditional Central Asian open pit latrine] won't last long. When it fills up, we'll have to move it again and again," she said.
"The absence of any planning to provide families with access to safe and hygienic latrines will expose people moving into new homes to high risks of disease and illness," Save the Children US said in the Early Recovery Appeal.
"Those open pit latrines are a source of infection and create absolutely unsanitary conditions," Nargis Artushevskaya a programme officer on Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) with the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) in Tajikistan, told IRIN in the Tajik capital, Dushanbe.
Artushevskaya said they had looked into various suitable safe latrine designs that could be easily adopted by the local population and had concluded that the best was the pour flush latrine with a water seal. However, they depend on piped water and at the moment Shokhrukh residents get water from a standpipe on the edge of the settlement.
This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions
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