I worked in the coal mines in Hangu district for twenty years. When I was a child my family was unable to pay for my education so I had to start work as a coal miner at the age of 15. This was the practice for all young boys of my age in our village. We had to do it to support our family, 

expressed Mian Syed Zaman, a 55-year-old father of seven children from Serei Kana village of Shangla district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province of Pakistan.

Although Syed Zaman’s income was not much, he lived a content life with his wife and children. In 1998, that changed. Zaman started feeling sharp aches in his lower back. The pains kept worsening until one day Zaman felt nothing in his lower body. He was paralyzed from waist down. He tried everything to cure himself, whatever he could afford, wherever he had to travel for it. But it was all in vain. Zaman had become bed-ridden for life. Following his father’s early footsteps, Zaman’s eldest son, Zia-ur-Rehman,  had to leave school, graduating from Grade 8th, to start work to support his six siblings and mother. He had no choice but to do so.

Married and with two children of his own today, Zia-ur-Rehman is the sole bread earner for a large family of twelve members now.  He works in the same coal mine his father used to work at  as a daily wager. He earns PKR 25,000 (Approx. 215 USD) a month. With this income, it is difficult to make ends meet and provide sufficiently all family members. Neighbours and relatives of Zaman and his wife often gift money and used clothes to the struggling family. Zaman’s family also receives Zakatⁱ, in the form of money, once each year from the Government Zakat Department under the quota for disabled people. The family owns a cow, three goats, some poultry and a small piece of land adjacent to their home. Zaman uses the land to grow animal fodder, some vegetables and maize which helps the family sustain their meals for about five months.

Zaman’s house is a scantily constructed mud house where they all live together.

In all these years I could not afford to construct a latrine in my house. My family would use the nearby fields or jungle to attend nature’s call. Being paralyzed, it was not easy for me to do so. I felt embarrassed. I commuted on a small cart. The cart had a hole in the middle with a plastic bucket attached at the bottom. The bucket was half filled with ash and sand. I defecated in it and my wife would clean it. To avoid this trouble, I ate far less then actually required,

shared Syed Zaman unhappily.

During a survey conducted by Community World service Asia (CWSA)  in early 2016 to identify and select most vulnerable earthquake affected families, Zaman and his family were selected as participants to receive support in rebuilding their house and in construction of latrines. Zaman was selected on the basis of being a Person with Disability (PWD) and because his house had been severely damaged in the 2015 earthquake that epicentered in the Hindukush mountain range.

Zaman received Corrugated Galvanized Iron (CGI) sheets which were sourced by the Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority (ERRA). They were also provided with raw materials to reconstruct their house by CWSA.  Zaman’s house was completely reconstructed in 2016. CGI sheets were used to construct the roof to ensure the family’s safety during future hazards in mountainous and risk prone areas like Shangla. Most importantly, in early 2017, a complete latrine with two commodes was constructed and included in Zaman’s new house by his son himself.

Our family is living comfortably now. They do not need to go to the jungle for open defecation anymore. There are no flies and smell of excretion around our home anymore and the surrounding environment looks and feels much cleaner and fresher now. I have installed four small wheels in my cart to easily reach the latrine with the help of a stick. It would be great if I can be provided clutches and wheelchair.

In addition to latrine and shelter construction, Zaman’s family was provided with hygiene kits, which included two plastic cans with lids, one water pot (lota), soaps and sanitation cloths. The cans helped the family to carry and store drinking water in safely, minimizing the risks of water contamination.

 Health and hygiene sessions were delivered by the project team. We are more aware of hand washing techniques and importance of using latrines now. This protects my family to from diseases and illnesses, 

 stated Zaman.

ⁱZakat is a religious obligation for all Muslims who meet the necessary criteria of wealth. It is a mandatory charitable contribution, the right of the poor to find relief from the rich and is considered to be a tax, or obligatory alms.

Integrated Emergency Shelter and WASH support to EQ affected families project is implemented by Community World Service Asia in district Shangla, Pakistan with the support of European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) and Norwegian Church Aid (NCA).

Bacha Rehman, father of six, runs a small grocery shop in Karora town, near his home village of Serei Kana in Shangla, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province of Pakistan. He has been running the shop for nineteen years now. With his parents living with him, Rehman has ten family members (including his own wife and children) to support and provide a livelihood for. To meet the dietary needs of his large family, Rehman grows maize, vegetables and animal fodder on a small piece of land he owns. His wife and him also own three goats, two cows and some poultry as a means to provide for their family.

In late 2015, an earthquake struck parts of Serei Kana and other villages, destroying Rehman’s house among many others.  He reconstructed his small house using cement blocks with RCC1 pillars for the main walls and wooden RCC beams for the roof. The roof was further secured with CGI2 sheets, rafters and then covered with mud and soil. This sort of construction came as a new trend in the area and soon became a common practice here especially after the area was hit with recurring natural calamities such as the earthquakes in 2005 and 2015 and the heavy rains leading to floods in 2010.

Serei Kana, however, has only one water pipeline that provides water to twenty-three houses. The water supply through this line is quite limited and inconsistent, making it insufficient to meet the needs of these many households. To add on, this main supply line has been leaking since it has not been well maintained over the years, resulting in an unnecessary wastage of gallons of precious water.

With Shangla receiving less rain and prolonged drought seasons (from September to end of February), the district experiences perpetual water scarcity.

We barely received five gallons of water per day to fulfill our daily needs. This water is used for drinking, cooking, washing dishes and clothes, to water the crops and the livestock. This was naturally insufficient to meet the needs of ten family members living under one roof.  To ensure that our water needs were somewhat fulfilled, we would walk to a stream that was quite far away from home to fetch water. It was almost an entire day’s travel if we walked to it with our livestock for them to drink from there and then return,

 shared Rehman. 

Rehman was very concerned about the dismal water conditions in their village. The other villagers and him were unable to devise a long-term solution for the water scarcity situation on their own. After much thought, Rehman thought of storing the rain water that stands still on his CGI roof and is ultimately wasted, to reuse for actual consumption. He quickly shared this idea with a local carpenter, who agreed to working on it and soon created and installed a “rain water harvesting” system on the CGI roof of Rehman’s self-built house. Collecting the water from the roof was thus initiated and was a sensible solution but storing the water still remained a major challenge. Purchasing large barrels for water storage was a large additional and unaffordable expense for Rehman.

Community World Service Asia initiated an Integrated Emergency WASH and Shelter support project for the earthquake affected families in District Shangla in August 2016. Under its sanitation component, Rehman fulfilled the beneficiary selection criteria drafted for the project and was selected as a participant for construction of a new latrine. Under the project, material for complete construction of a new latrine along with cash for work labor was provided to him.

Rehman constructed a latrine in his house. He managed the material in a way that he built a RCC roof along with a water storage tank to store rain water on top of the latrine. The water tank measured 6×6 square feet and five feet deep. The rain water collection system installed on the CGI roof was directed to the storage tank, with a valve being fixed with the tap and pipe line of the storage tank to control the water supply. The construction of a rain water collection system was Rehman’s own initiative. He used the material, which was left over after the construction of the latrine, provided by Community World Service Asia.

Rehman and his family now have a constant supply of water in their house, fulfilling all of theirs and their livestock’s daily needs.  His innovative storage system has inspired many fellow villagers who plan to replicate and install the water harvesting system on their CGI roofs to overcome water crisis.

The water is used for all purposes including cooking, drinking, livestock, washing clothes and dishes. Once the tank is filled with water, it is enough to last a month for my family. The water is mainly stored to last us during the drought period.

With the support of Community World Service Asia, I was able to install a latrine and a water storage system. I now have a cleaner and hygienic environment at home and there is less shortage of water. The construction of the storage system cost me half the actual price as I did not purchase cement and other raw materials myself, 

 admitted Rehman happily,

My family was provided with a hygiene kit as well, which included two plastic cans with a lid and one water pot (lota). The cans helped the family to carry and store drinking water in a safe way to avoid risks of water contamination. The frequency of having diarrhea and fever has been considerably reduced in our family. Soaps and sanitation cloths were also provided in the kit.

 Health and hygiene sessions were delivered to Rehman’s family as part of the project interventions as well. These sessions included awareness on maintenance of cleanliness in latrines and households and the importance and correct method of washing hands before and after meals and general guidelines on keeping their surrounding environment clean and safe. 

We are more aware of germs transfer and its preventive measures. I feel the difference as my children look fresh and healthier. It is very important to maintain domestic hygiene as it protects us from various diseases and illnesses. Moreover, my wife and children utilize water according to our needs now, avoiding wastage of water,

 affirmed Rehman.

1 Reinforced Cement Concrete

2 Corrugated Galvanized Iron

Gul Khan relied on daily wages and lived with his wife and four children in Karshat village in District Shangla of Khyber Pakhtoonkhowa (KPK) province in Pakistan. The family of six lived in a small mudhouse[1] in the village. The house, being his only asset, and home to six members, had no latrine or washroom for the family to use. All its residents had to resort to rushing to the nearby forest or scanty bushes whenever nature would call.

In rural villages such as Karshat, most inhabitants survive without latrines inside their homes and mostly depend on their own livestock to meet their daily nutritional needs.  Amina Bibi and her children however did not own any livestock and solely depended on Gul Khan’s daily earning to buy food that they could survive on. Their daily meals consisted mostly of black tea and plain bread.

To add on, Gul Khan’s house had no direct water supply either. Since he had once been in a dispute with his neighbors over the construction of a water pipeline that would connect to his house. The neighbor disagreed and it was decided that no water supply line would connect to his house.

Amina Bibi and their children fetch water from a nearby spring located some three hundred yards away from their house. Amina would sometimes ask her neighbours for some water as well. Gul Khan and his family were living at the lowest poverty level and his children looked malnourished and underfed at first sight.

In August of 2015, Amina and her children received devastating news. They were told Gul Khan had been reported missing in Karachi. Gul Khan’s male relatives went down to Karachi to verify this news and to enquire about his disappearance or probable whereabouts. However, to no avail. They had to return back in vain and could not stay there longer to find him as they had to return to their own jobs and families.

Survival and meeting daily ends became a challenge for Amina Bibi and her children, specially the three going to school. One of Gul Khan’s brother, working in Saudi Arabia as a laborer, sends around PKR 2,500 to 3,000 (USD 17-25)  monthly to  support his brother’s family. The family also receives  charity money support from a local mosque on periodical basis.

In August 2016, Gul Khan’s family was identified and selected as participants under the WASH[2] project implemented by Community World Service Asia and supported by ECHO as part of a humanitarian response.. A latrine was constructed for the family in their house and they were also provided with hygiene kits and health hygiene sessions under the project. The hygiene kit included two plastic cans with a lid, one bodna[3], soaps and sanitation cloths. The cans helped the family carry and store drinking water safely as the containers were covered reducing the risks of water contamination. While the sessions helped the family learn how to use the  latrine and adopt a thorough hand washing technique to maintain and sustain a clean environment. Awareness was built on the use of washing hands with soaps before having meals and after attending latrines which minimized the transfer of diseases in the food and water.

As there was no male relative was available to assist the family during the construction of their latrine, Ibadullah, Chairman of Local Village Committee, stepped in to help. With Ibadullah’s support, the latrine was successfully established with the help of other village members and project team volunteers.

Amina Bibi and her children expressed their highest gratitude to the project staff for fulfilling their most basic needs. She also reaffirmed that the recurrence of diarrhea had reduced among her children.

Being chosen as a participant of this project has been a blessing for my children as I was aware of the danger my children were facing due to the unhygienic environment we lived in. After losing my husband, my children and their good health is very important to me. I will always continue to incorporate cleanliness and hygienic practices in our daily life.

[1] Houses made of mud walls supported with wooden beams and slanting roofs made of tiles.

[2] Integrated Emergency WASH and Shelter Support to EQ Affected Communities of District Shangla KP Project implemented by Community World Service Asia and supported by European Union Humanitarian Aid (ECHO)

[3] A lota or bodna is a small (usually spherical) water vessel of brass, copper or plastic used in parts of South Asia for personal hygiene.

DurationApr 01, 2006Dec 31, 2008
LocationDistrict Mansehra, Battagram and Shangla of KP
Key Activities
  • 11 latrines and washrooms + one toilet
  • 48 water supply schemes
Participants69,370 individuals

DurationMay 15, 2016Apr 30, 2018
LocationUnion Council Bar Puran, Bengalai, Damori, Kuzkana and Shahpur in Shangla District
Key Activities
  • Repair/rehabilitation of 26 water supply schemes
  • Construction of 560 new latrines
  • Repair of 370 partially damaged latrines
  • Construction of 150 latrines for people with disabilities
  • Distribution of 1,400 Self help repair shelter kits
  • Distribution of 4,600 hygiene kits and waste bins
  • 1,182 sessions on hygiene promotion using PHAST and CHAST techniques
  • 210 sessions on safer construction techniques and DRR
Participants61,461 community members

Distribution of hygiene kit after training session on Participatory Hygiene and Sanitation Transformation (PHAST) and Children Hygiene and Sanitation Training (CHAST)

Community World Service Asia is implementing an integrated emergency WASH and Shelter project for families affected by the 2015 earthquake in District Shangla, Pakistan. The target Union Councils of the intervention included Shah Pur, Damorhi, Kuz Kana, Bar Puran and Banglai.

The key components of this short-term disaster response project include Rehabilitation of Water Supply Schemes, Repair and reconstruction of Latrines and Distribution of Self help repair Shelter kits. The project also provides trainings on Participatory Hygiene and Sanitation Transformation (PHAST) and Children Hygiene and Sanitation Training (CHAST) techniques of health and hygiene along with provision of hygiene kits and waste bins to the communities.

The distribution of self-help repair shelter kits to the affected families has been completed. A total of 1400 shelter repair kits have been distributed among the targeted earthquake affected households. The shelter kits distribution was done in three of the selected union councils including Damori, Kuzkana and Shahpur.

A standard process for the distribution based on the selection criteria of participants was followed under the project. Tokens were distributed amongst the concerned communities and information regarding the distribution ceremony was shared with all participants. It was mandatory for the community member to bring their original identity card along with the token to receive the assigned kit.

On the day of distribution, an orientation sessions on safer construction techniques was conducted to enable the communities to utilize the shelter repair kit as per the guidelines. Follow-up visits are scheduled to be conducted in the coming months to guide the communities on how and where to construct their shelter and how to utilize the kit to avail its maximum benefits. Along with follow-up visits, follow-up sessions on safer construction techniques are also planned in the year ahead.

Remote and rural areas affected by recurrent natural disasters often suffer the most when it comes to their recovery, rehabilitation and development. The 7.5 magnitude earthquake epicentered in the Hindu Kush range in winter of 2015 severely shook Pakistan’s mountainous northern belt, killing nearly three hundred people. In its aftermath, more than 14,000 houses were severely damaged or completely destroyed; community infrastructure was unusable and livelihoods were diminished.  Almost a year later, the poor socio-economic life of the inhabitants remained largely unchanged.

High altitude villages perched on the steep mountain slopes of district Shangla in northern Pakistan were severely damaged by the earthquake. One of the hardest hit areas was Village Tanshit; mainly comprised of steep, rocky terrain dotted with 221 traditional, rural homestead compounds. Multiple families reside in each compound. After the earthquake, the community’s most basic infrastructure and facilities, which had been built with great effort and years of savings, were lost. The village’s sole water supply scheme became one of the earthquake’s most significant casualties.

For the next nine months after the earthquake, the local women had to make a forty five minute climb on foot to a mountain stream and return with as much water as they could carry everyday. Families living in mountain village compounds have strong traditional, social and cultural codes for the protection of women, even for those undertaking daily domestic responsibilities.  This usually means that the women stay very close to their homes.  However, to access water, the women of Tanshit had to travel a long distance carrying water on their heads through wild and rocky mountain treks.  As the water carried by a single person was insufficient for the entire family’s needs, sometimes the children were tasked with carrying water from the streams on their way back from school. This was dangerous and had to be done in daylight. In warmer months, these communities became very vulnerable to waterborne diseases as hygiene could not be maintained while carrying and storing this stream water.

“Safe drinking water and adequate sanitation are crucial for poverty reduction, crucial for sustainable development and crucial for achieving any and every one of the Millennium Development Goals,” Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary General

The human right to water and to sanitation constitutes the right of every individual, without discrimination, to sufficient, safe, acceptable, accessible and affordable water and sanitation for personal use. To ensure this right, in 2016 Community World Service Asia, in partnership with Norwegian Church Aid and ECHO, assessed the village Tanshit’s water system and was selected as one of the twenty communities under its’ integrated WASH, Shelter and Cash-for-Work programme.  Technical assistance, construction materials and paid labor opportunities were provided to help villagers to restore their water system, reconstruct latrines and bathing facilities, and repair their homes.  A village WASH Committees was formed to articulate the basic communal needs according to the project’s objectives and scope.

The project team arranged hygiene sessions with the village women’s group and sensitized them on hygienic practices through Child Hygiene and Sanitation Training (CHAST) and Participatory Hygiene and Sanitation Transformation (PHAST) approaches. A pre-KAP (Knowledge, Attitudes, Practices) survey was also conducted to gauge the pre-existing or baseline hygienic practices of the families and to help demonstrate subsequent gains.

To ensure ownership, each village’s drinking water supply scheme was selected on the recommendation of village committees. After a technical feasibility assessment conducted by members of Community World Service Asia’s engineering team, Tanshit’s water supply scheme was rehabilitated, with additional resources, successfully. The water source was reconstructed, protected and pipelines were installed throughout the village.  The community contributed additional labor and materials as well to this reconstruction.

Today, Tanshit’s drinking water supply scheme supplies clean, safe and ample water to 221 households as per Sphere standards. The risk of waterborne diseases has been decreased. The social protection of women has been ensured and their cultural sensitivities are preserved. Around 1,200 individuals are undertaking more hygienic practices that will significantly contribute to maintaining healthier families. The project team also mobilized the local community towards the maintenance and upkeep of their water system through a local community savings plan.  They have also begun a small, intra-village savings and lending activity to commonly support their lowest income groups. This will enable every community member to maintain their compound’s connections to the scheme.

A sister holding her baby brother while waiting to see the doctor at the BHU in Kuzkhana

In response to the 7.5 magnitude earthquake that struck the Hindukish mountain range on October 26th this year, affecting thousands of people in northern Afghanistan and Pakistan, Community World Service Asia set up a mobile health unit in district Shangla.  The Mobile unit started its activities on October 30th and continued operation as a static Basic Health Unit in Kuzkana, Shangla, after two weeks and still operational.

In its thirty two days of activities till December 10th, the Health Unit days catered to 4090 earthquake affected community members in its Outpatient Department (OPD),of which 2271 patients were women and infants, and 1820 men and children.  A total of 1033 laboratory tests were conducted to diagnose illnesses among affected communities in the mobile Laboratory and BHU.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The earthquake 26 October, 7.5 magnitude earthquake affected sixteen provinces in Afghanistan and two provinces along with the FATA region in Pakistan. It left a total of 395 people dead, 2,269 injured and 116,639 houses damaged in both the countries. Infrastructural damage was most extensive near the epicentre of the quake in both the countries. Access to the affected provinces is most difficult due to the volatile security situation in Afghanistan and the rugged terrain in both the quake hit countries.

The decreasing temperatures in the affected zones of both the countries is another hurdle in accessibility to the areas. With no appropriate shelter, the earthquake hit communities are forced to face the harsh winter in compromising conditions, struggling to meet their basic survival requirements.

Pakistan: As per the latest information released by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), so far 280 people have died, 1,745 have been injured and a total of 98,094 houses have been damaged across the country. Out of the total houses damaged, 92 percent were located in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province. Damages to infrastructure such as roads, bridges and communication networks, in the affected areas are also significant.

Protection against the near freezing temperatures is the priority need of the affected communities. In this regard, winterization support is a highly recommended form of assistance by the district government. This is followed by health services which also a critical need of the quake hit communities who are exposed to the dropping temperatures without adequate winter supplies.

Afghanistan: A total of 115 people have died, 524 people have been injured and 18,545 houses have been damaged in Afghanistan. A recorded 6,929 houses out of the total damaged have been completely destroyed. A reported 130,093 people have been affected across the country as per the latest report, however the damage assessment is still ongoing which may result in a further increase in number of damages.

More than 50,000 people have been affected in Badakhshan province where property damage was most widespread. Access remains the major challenge in providing assistance to the earthquake affected people in Afghanistan. The primary needs of the affected communities in the country have been identified as basic household supplies, blankets, tents, hygiene kits and shelter for those families whose houses have been completely destroyed.

Quality and Accountability Related Issues

Afghanistan: Community World Service Asia has conducted a Rapid Accountability Need Assessment (RANA) with local and international organizations working on the earthquake response in Afghanistan.  Listed below are the accountability related issues that have surfaced in the assessment;

  • Organizations have less capacity to handle complaints as they do not have proper Complaint Response Mechanisms (CRM) in place or trained staff to deal with the concerns of the communities
  • Due to current developing security situation, some international organizations are unable to reach far flung and remote affected communities

Pakistan: Community World Service Asia organized an Accountability Learning and Working Group (ALWG) meeting on Nov 19, 2015 to discuss the challenges and issues faced by humanitarian actors in responding to the recent Earthquake in Pakistan.  Ten national and International organizations including UN agencies participated in the event. Listed below are the identified accountability related issues;

  • Access to the severely affected areas is still a major issue
  • 50 percent of the affected community is still waiting for compensation
  • The Government is disbursing compensation amounts through cheques however most of the earthquake affected communities do not have bank accounts to cash their cheques
  • No proper emergency evacuation system has yet been placed for children in earthquake affected areas. The schools in these areas are still not functional either.
  • Some of the organizations have provided shelters to the communities but the quality of the shelters does not take in account resilience to changing and extreme weather.
  • Some community members have started reconstructing their homes but they are not following the earthquake resilient structure guidelines.
  • Lack of coordinated assessment is still a major challenge.

Response by Community World Service Asia: Community World Service Asia’s Emergency Health Response team has provided health services through Mobile Health Units in District Shangla for 12 days where the team treated 1,853 patients, of which 975 were male patients and 878 were female. A total of 136 lab tests have also been carried out at the MHU. Since November 16th, the team has started operating as a static Basic Health Unit at UC Kuzkana in the Shangla district, where the team has assisted more than 600 patients, and carried more than a hundred lab tests so far. Community World Service Asia has also distributed one month food packages to 371 families and distributed 812 winterization kits to affected families till date. In the coming days more distributions of winterization kits will also take place.

Please follow our live photo update from the earthquake affected areas on our Facebook page at: .

Allan A. Calma
Deputy Director
Disaster Management Program
Cell: +92 301 5801621

Muhammad Fazal
Associate Director
Emergencies/DRR/Climate Change
Cell: +92 332 5586134

Nejabat Khan Safi
Associate Director
Disaster Management Program
Mobile: +93 799 326 628

Palwashay Arbab
Head of Communications
Ph: +92 42 3586 5338

OCHA Afghanistan
IOM Afghanistan

An 8 year old Kainat was spotted during our visit to DHQ Alpuri. She was injured when we met her as she was held by her father, who supports a family of nine including his wife, his father, two sons and four daughters. Kainat’s family are residents of the earthquake affected village Maal of UC Kuzkana, District Shangla.

“We were all sitting in the kitchen after having lunch when the earthquake hit with full intensity. We rushed and evacuated our house and gathered in the fields outside. I was looking around at the shaking houses, mountains and trees as the earthquake continued. Then, all of a sudden, our house started to collapse around me, giving me no time to move. A wooden beam fell on my leg while at the same time some pieces of stones hit my grandfather,”

narrated Kainat’s as she recalled her experience during the devastating earthquake.

Kainat’s father added, “Nearly fifty percent of houses were destroyed in our village but the neighbors whose houses survived showed great solidarity and immediately started helping those families affected. They  helped us to rescue my daughter and my father from the rubble and quickly moved them to the hospital. We reached RHC Karora in a state of emergency, where, after being provided with first aid, we were referred to the Swat Hospital, as Kainat’s leg was broken in two places and my father was severely injured. We received a thorough treatment at the Swat Hospital; my daughter was discharged but my father is still admitted there.”

Upon inquiring about the current needs of those affected by the earthquake, he replied that the affected communities are currently seeking shelter under polythene sheets in open fields as the other villagers help in providing them with food and comfort to the best of their abilities. The weather is becoming extremely cold. Tents, blankets and food items are most needed for families like Kainat’s to survive and recover.