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Drought impacts health, economic conditions of families

Harvest failure has led to a decreased income for families in Indonesia, along with limited access to water. Previously, families were forced to utilise their small income to buy water, but now, with the support of Plan International, families in Nagekeo and Soe districts are receiving safe, clean drinking water and investing their income on their family's future.

Yuliati, the resident of Nagekeo district no longer has to buy drinking water

A severe drought in parts of Indonesia has led to many problems: families have faced a failed harvesting season alongside limited access to safe drinking water. Without a fruitful harvest, families have made less money this year and have had to rely on friends and family for financial support. 

Beside economic challenges, the lack of clean water has also led to health problems.

In the last 6 months, diarrhea cases have increased by almost 100 percent 

“In the last 6 months, diarrhea case has increased by almost 100 percent compared to the previous period,” said Mona, administration staff in Health Centre of Kie sub-district. 

Mona explained that during March to August 2015, there were 113 diarrhea cases in Kie. “But from September 2015 to February 2016, diarrhea cases increased to 215. This was during the drought peak in our region,” she said.

Under normal circumstances, rain should have fallen since last October, but the drought continued until March 2016. Villagers living in hilly areas are now struggling to find clean water. Springs that are normally flowing with water have dried up. 

Residents are finding water from other springs in the river bank, which can be kilometers away. But even then, the water supply is limited and the water is murky.

“We have to queue since the morning in order to get drinking water. Since the location is very far, it’s unlikely we can carry additional water to bathe at home. Usually we have to shower near the water source," says Dan Nenohai, head of Naileu village of Kie subdistrict, Timor Tengah Selatan.

For many months, the unhygienic water was the only source of water people could find. Not surprisingly, it posed a direct threat to contract illnesses and water-borne diseases.

In order to prevent a health outbreak and support families with clean water, Plan International in Indonesia began distributing liters of water to families in Nagekeo and Soe districts.

The water is clear, and it’s free

Now individuals like Yuliati do not need to bother waiting for a water seller to pass her home. Clean water provided by Plan International now means that she receives enough drinnking water to support her family. 

Yuliati used to buy eight jerry cans of water every day, spending Rp. 12,000 ($1 USD) daily, only to supply water for her family to consume.  

With this aid, Yuliati is relieved because she no longer has to buy clean water for drinking and cooking. “The water is clear, and it’s free,” she said.

Learn more about Plan International's efforts to support families impacted by El Nino in Indonesia.