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Improved water supplies to protect southerners against climate change

People living in the southern provinces of Attapeu, Saravan and Xekong will have access to improved clean water supplies in the near future, under a project to protect vulnerable communities against climate change.

The scheme was revealed during a recent inception meeting on Enhancing the Climate and Disaster Resilience of the most Vulnerable Rural and Emerging Urban Human Settlements in Laos.

The project will be implemented by UN-Habitat and the Ministry of Public Works and Transport in partnership with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and the three provincial authorities.

The project aims to help build the resilience of vulnerable communities to climate change, by providing them with water and shelter that they can rely on.

The objective of the project emphasises resilience to storms, floods, droughts, landslides and disease outbreaks through the provision of appropriate services and facilities.

Speaking at the meeting recently, Deputy Minister of Public Works and Transport Ms Vilaykham Phosalath said the project would help people involved in farming and small business operations.

Ms Vilaykham said villagers would have access to clean water and women and children would spend less time collecting water from distant places.

“If people use dirty water every day, it means they run an increased risk of disease. Clean water is a very important aspect of public health, especially for women,” she said.

A reliable supply of water will boost incomes, especially with regard to dry season crop yields, as farmers will be able to irrigate their crops. Villagers will have a regular supply of water year round and will be able to expand their farming and poultry breeding enterprises.

The meeting was attended by several line ministries, provincial authorities, and national and international agencies.

The Ministry of Public Works and Transport's Director General of the Water Supply Department, Mr Phomma Veoravanh, UN-Habitat Regional Advisor, SE Asia for Urban Basic Services, Dr Avi Sarkar, and Human Settlements Officer, Office for Asia and the Pacific, Mr Bernhard Barth, were key speakers at the opening session.

Mr Phomma highlighted the importance of the project, especially in building capacities at the provincial, district and village levels.

Mr Barth highlighted UN-Habitat's engagement in Laos and said the Adaptation Fund was the first of the organisation's projects and that Laos was prioritised.

Dr Sarkar provided an overview of the climate challenges and the project, saying the project will benefit over 47,000 people in 189 villages of eight districts. The project has a total budgetary outlay of US$4.5 million.

The project is in line with the 8th National Socio-economic Development Plan and several of the Sustainable Development Goals.

By Times Reporters
(Latest Update
March 02,

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