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news | June 30, 2017 | Somalia | Emergency

Water is life: Emergency water trucking in drought-prone Somalia

Clean and safe water is essential for life. The impending drought in Somalia has caused a severe water shortage leading to use of contaminated water, which, coupled with poor hygiene practices, has led to widespread outbreaks of water-borne diseases such as acute watery diarrhea and cholera.

As a consequence of the water shortage, water prices have skyrocketed making it difficult for the most vulnerable to access safe water. Water scarcity has also led to a high mortality rate amongst livestock and failed crop production, essential elements of household survival. Many households, usually women and girls, walk long distances to access water, increasing their exposure to risks of sexual and gender-based violence. To respond to this crisis, with support from the Somalia Humanitarian Fund (SHF), ACTED provided over 1,500 households in Sanaag region with 45 liters of water per day through emergency water trucking. The beneficiaries also received hygiene kits and participated in hygiene promotion sessions to improve hygiene practices and reduce the spread of water-borne disease.

Asho is a mother among the 1,500 households ACTED targeted for its emergency water trucking in Badhan district of Sanaag region. After losing their only assets due to the droughts, Asho and her family came to Gumar village to look for assistance from relatives and other well-wishers. She now lives there with her eight children, like many other pastoralists that lost their livestock to the drought.

“Before ACTED trucked water to my village, the situation was bad, people lacked water to drink, wash and cook food, but today as you can see water is plenty at our home, we are able to access clean, fresh and chlorinated water safe for human consumption”, explains Asho, one of the beneficiaries.

Thanks to the water trucking intervention, Asho and her children received 45 liters of fresh water per day for a period of 30 days. The water was treated to make it safe for consumption, which significantly reduced cases of diarrhea and other water related diseases. Thanks to the SHF-funded project, they now have access to clean water for drinking and domestic use such as washing, bathing and cooking without having to walk long distances.

“We are thankful for ACTED’s timely assistance that came at a time of great need. We hope that the response will be extended until the rains come,” she says.

Since the intervention, low rainfall brought a couple of months of relief, but assistance continues to be much needed in the villages of the region, especially with the upcoming dry season.

“Water is vital for the survival of all human beings and animals, it is devastating to see people suffer from a lack of it. We need to come together and offer life-saving assistance to the people in need” - Sarah, ACTED Kenya-Somalia Country Director