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Retired Japanese engineer continues water project in Afghanistan, honoring slain doctor’s legacy

AT News

KABUL – In an endeavor to carry forward the humanitarian work of the late Dr. Tetsu Nakamura, a retired Japanese engineer, Norio Owa, 73, has embarked on a mission to complete Nakamura’s water hydration project in Afghanistan. Nakamura, a revered doctor known for transforming barren lands into thriving greenery, tragically lost his life in an ambush four years ago.

Despite Nakamura’s untimely demise, Owa and a dedicated team are determined to ensure the continuity of the project, which aims to supply water and restore fertility to arid regions of Afghanistan. Owa, a member of the Fukuoka-based NGO Peshawar-kai, arrived at the construction site of an irrigation canal in eastern Afghanistan, where a 4.3-kilometer-long water conduit is being established on a mountain slope.

Peshawar-kai, Nakamura’s former organization, has been at the forefront of humanitarian efforts in Afghanistan, with around 100 Afghans engaged in medical support, irrigation, and agriculture. The irrigation project faced challenges following Nakamura’s death, but Owa and a team of Japanese specialists have stepped in to ensure its progress.

The late doctor’s influence extends beyond his altruistic endeavors. Owa, moved by Nakamura’s commitment to addressing climate change challenges, was eager to contribute after retiring. Unfortunately, Nakamura’s life was cut short before Owa could offer his assistance directly.

Nakamura’s innovative approach, known as the “PMS method,” combines traditional Afghan building techniques with skills dating back to the Edo Period. This method, which prioritizes cost-effectiveness and ease of maintenance, has successfully transformed vast desert expanses into fertile agricultural fields, covering an area equivalent to 5,000 Tokyo Domes.

In a significant development, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has partnered with Peshawar-kai to promote the PMS method across Afghanistan. A grant aid contract worth 1.3 billion yen ($8.8 million) with the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization underscores the commitment to expanding this transformative technique, honoring Nakamura’s vision and legacy.

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