Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of November 19, 2007
Beaumont Knights out to end poor sanitation in Indian village
- photo supplied
Beaumont Knights will try to help end unsanitary conditions in the village of Attalur, India
By ALICIA AMBROSIO
WCR Staff Writer
For Canadians, who buy their drinking water at the supermarket with special additives and fancy flavours, it is hard to fathom that 1.1 billion people on earth do not have access to safe drinking water and another 2.4 billion people live in highly unsanitary conditions.
One Alberta Catholic has rallied the Knights of Columbus in Beaumont to try to change the situation in one Indian village plagued by poor sanitation and unsafe drinking water.
Chatting with the pastor at his former parish, Stan Lantz learned of the unsanitary living conditions of India's rural poor. Specifically Lantz learned about the lack of proper sanitation and safe drinking water in Attalur, India, the pastor's hometown.
Father Innaiah Bellamkonda, pastor of St. Vital Parish in Beaumont, is from Attalur, a village in South East India with a population of 10,000 people living in 1,000 homes, 60 per cent of which have inadequate sanitation facilities.
He told the WCR that last year there were two, almost back to back, outbreaks of cholera in the village. Many people in the village were struck by the illness and, although Bellamkonda does not have the exact numbers, several died as a result.
Hearing this, Lantz took it upon himself to try to help. A member of the Lady of the Hill Beaumont Knights of Columbus, Lantz turned to his fellow Knights for support.
With the support of Lady of the Hill Beaumont Knights of Columbus, Lantz has organized a fundraising dinner Nov. 28 at the Colonial Golf and Country Club in Beaumont.
Among the rural poor in India it is not uncommon to find an average of 4.9 people living in government supplied houses that are 150 to 200 square feet. Each person has slightly more floor space than a full-size bed.
These homes are usually little more than a metre apart with open drainage in the space between houses. As well, 90 per cent of homes in villages like Attalur do not have toilet facilities. As a result people simply relieve themselves in the open, along roadsides, in ditches or on farmland.
Epidemics of waterborne diseases, ranging from typhoid to viral gastroenteritis are common in many parts of rural India.
The money raised by Lantz's project will go towards providing washroom facilities for families in Attalur and a pure water system for the village.
For more information, contact St. Vital Parish at 929-8541.