In Somalia the situation caused by drought remains critical with at least 8 million people  still in need of lifesaving assistance, and facing water insecurity. According to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the trend is set to worsen throughout 2023.
In internally displaced persons (IDPs) camps across Somalia — in areas like Baidoa (Bay region), Afgooye (Shebelle region) and Dhobley (Lower Juba region) — most new arrivals report issues accessing water. They do not have sufficient water to meet their basic needs due to the cost of water, distance to waterpoints, and widespread supply shortages. As a result, families are often left with no other option but to send their children kilometers away in search of water.
With the support of USAID, in 2023, Acted supported 15,000 vulnerable IDPs in accessing clean and drinkable water.
Despite efforts to scale-up assistance, the water shortage remains a persistent issue throughout Somalia, worsening over time as droughts become more frequent. Rains earlier in the year underperformed, leaving most water sources unquenched. Additionally, significant portions of WASH infrastructure across the country are dysfunctional or providing unclean and insufficient water.
Many families from the most affected areas have opted to migrate to other areas in the hope of accessing more reliable water sources. However, with these movements, conflicts among communities are becoming more frequent, leading to increases in social tensions.
The high water prices in most regions have pushed families to send children kilometers away to water points that are believed to have plenty of water, preventing these children from accessing their right to education. The distance travelled to access water also opens women and children up to additional vulnerabilities due to high risk of sexual and physical abuse.
In addition, the need for water is putting significant pressure on current water points, which may soon be depleted due to the high number of people relying on such sources for survival.
Water is the lifeline of a community
With USAID’s support, Acted has been able to provide water to drought-affected communities across Somalia. Efforts including the distribution of water through trucking, as well as the rehabilitation of strategic water sources like boreholes and shallow wells, have reached more than 15,000 people across 13 IDP sites in Somalia, distributing a total of about 6.5 million litres of water. Through these efforts, target communities now have access to clean and drinkable water to meet their basic needs such as drinking and cooking.
More than 8 million people are still facing acute water shortages due to frequent droughts and lack of water, leading to poor hygiene conditions in affected areas. With such conditions, it is estimated that more than 3 million children  are at a greater risk of contracting infectious diseases such as cholera. Given these risks, more funding is needed to support vulnerable IDPs in accessing clean water and prevent the continued loss of life due to lack of water.