In the aftermath of a natural disaster, sanitation is more often than not the most pressing issue. The threat of the outbreak of disease, most commonly contracted from unsafe drinking water, can do as much damage as the actual disaster. Nepal is no exception.
After the recent earthquake, one of the biggest issues has been lack of access to safe drinking water and proper toilets. Even before the earthquake, the World Health Organization reports that only 37% of the population in Nepal has access to adequate sanitation facilities. While much progress has been made in sanitation in the past few years, the fear is that the earthquake has undone even that 37%. “The town water supply is completely broken down,” says Arjen Naafs, the South Asia regional technical adviser for WaterAid. People have abandoned their normal hygiene habits, thus contaminating what clean water there is. As monsoon season approaches, these problems will only worsen due to flooding.
The unfortunate fact of the matter is, a cholera outbreak is almost guaranteed.