Water, a Constant Worry

There are about 40 Bihari refugee camps in Dhaka city, the capital of Bangladesh, the country became independent in the 1971 war against Pakistan. These camps are called “stranded Pakistani camps” or “stranded refugee camps”. Not only Pakistanis but many Indians from Bihar state & other cities live here.

The living conditions for the Biharis in the camps are poor. Housing is cramped and dilapidated. Toilets are scarce and often dirty or broken. In many camps, fewer than 10 public toilets service hundreds of residents. In a few areas, there is no regular supply of water, drinking water is available but unclean. There are no playgrounds or green spaces. Camp roads are narrow, crumbling, and flood easily.

Among all the problems, getting clean water is the biggest one. “Rather than life and future we have a constant worry about water”, shared Khairun Imran (50). Khairun is a widow, she has one son. She and her son live in Geneva camp. Her son works in a butcher’s store, so he is always outside for work. So, Khairun has to collect drinking and cleaning water. Because of her age and illness, carrying water is damaging her health. Now she has a back pain problem too.

Since arriving in the camp, there has been no personal water supply, so they have to collect water far away from their houses from a public space, where 2-3 times they can get the chance to store the water. To collect water, they have to wait in a long queue. Sometimes in the winter, especially kids and old people have to take a shower in the evening or at night in an open place where there is almost no privacy. In future, in their daily lives, rather than getting good food, they would prefer to have a private water connection where they can use the water whenever they want 24 hours a day.

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ArtIQulate is a publication associated with the Adenauer Fellowship, a scholarship programme by the Media Programme Asia, Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung Ltd.
About the author

Monon Muntaka

Alumni, Diploma of Visual Journalism, Asian Center for Journalism

Monon Muntaka is a freelance journalist based in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Due to experiences in her early life that showed her the importance of human and women’s rights, Monon has made it her mission to unfold diverse stories on various social concerns around her. Currently, her work focuses on trauma from sexual, emotional, and physical abuse.

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