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Water flows and greens grow

Indonesia, June 20, 2011

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  <span class="field-credit">
    Iswanto JA/Mercy Corps  </span>
    The people living in Masokut were very enthusiastic about the installation of a hydraulic pump, which helps getting clean water easier for tsunami-affected families. Photo: Iswanto JA/Mercy Corps
  <span class="field-credit">
    Iswanto JA/Mercy Corps  </span>
    Corn growing amidst the temporary houses for tsunami-displaced families in the village of Masokut. Photo: Iswanto JA/Mercy Corps

Thanks to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Mercy Corps´ hygiene promotion, livelihood, water and sanitation programs are improving living conditions for those living in displacement camps on Indonesia's Mentawai Islands, which were struck by a tsunami last October. In the villages of Masokut and Berilou village on the island of Sipora, these programs are having a positive effect on the community´s health and economic wellbeing.

The head of Masokut village, Rahmat Setiawan, told Mercy Corps that people in his community have started to smile because of the success of the water and sanitation programs. "Before Mercy Corps' water and sanitation program, people took water from the small river that is around 100 meters behind the relocation camp. Carrying the bucket without spilling all of the water was difficult and tiring day in and day out. Every day, parents and children must take turns to bring water 100 meters home," said Rahmat.

The people living in Masokut were very enthusiastic about the installation of a hydraulic pump. In addition to the installation, they have been learning about hygiene promotion and how to keep their village cleaner and more sanitary. Their enthusiasm for the use of the hydraulic pump and the importance of clean water was confirmed by their agreement to stop polluting the river.

“Every person in the village has agreed that they will not throw trash or defecate along the river. This is in order to maintain health and cleanliness of the river for the necessities of life of every citizen, "said Rahmat.

The livelihood program is also beginning to benefit the local community. Within the relocation camps, crops of corn, chili and eggplant have begun to sprout.

"Our village is no longer barren. Our village is now beginning to look green with these new crops," said Rahmat, optimistically.