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Amar Guriro, a Karachi based journalist, and a WaterAid fellow, has named Machar Colony “The town of miracles”. As we walk through piles of rubbish surrounding children who use the streets as a playground, he explains that surviving here is only possible by the appearance of small miracles.
A major sewage drain passes through Karachi's largest slum settlement called Machar Colony, home to around 700.000 people of different nationalities including Afghans, Bangladeshis, Biharis and Burmese, among others.
As Machar Colony is an illegal slum settlement, government departments do not provide even the most basic facilities like gas, electricity or potable water. The open drain, blocked under a thick layer of garbage, is also the passageway for potable water supply pipes. Residents have managed to connect pipes to the main water pipeline across the main road beside the colony from where they can then distribute the water to underground storage tanks.
To get rid of the garbage all around, people often set it on fire and, often, the sewage water then mixes with the drinking water supply through the melted plastic pipes. Due to this situation, the majority of children of this colony suffer from viral infections, respiratory disorders and waterborne diseases.