Ensuring safe water and sanitation during floods in rural communities of Bihar State, India
Bihar is India's most flood-prone state; 76 per cent of people living under the recurring threat of flooding. A major concern is lack of access to clean drinking water and sanitation during floods, resulting in avoidable morbidity and mortality, especially among children. In partnership with the Ministry of Disaster Management of the Government of Bihar, WaterAid worked in 100 villages across the five worst flood-affected districts, demonstrating emergency preparedness related to water and sanitation, and supporting the government in implementing a comprehensive emergency preparedness plan to effectively support water supply, sanitation and hygiene requirements during floods. In each village, sites relatively safe from flood waters were identified, four single-pit, pour-flush toilets were constructed and a hand pump provided (the toilets and hand pump on raised platforms); and 400 volunteers were trained in preventing waterborne diseases and treating diarrhoea. The technological improvements are being scaled up by the government in the flood-prone areas, and under the Chief Minister's Housing Scheme.