The Arduous Journey for Water: Halima’s Everyday Story

Published June 7, 2017 by Muna Ali

Halima in her daily trek for water near Roox, Mudug region March 14, 2017


With a big yellow jerry can strapped to her back and two in her hands, 70-year-old Halima must walk at least 3km under the hot sun to collect water for her family. When there is not enough water in the nearest hand dug well, she is forced to walk to the next one and the next until she finds some water. The water that she carries back to her family isn’t clean most of the time but it’s all that’s available for now.

On a good day, Halima fetches over 40 pounds of water. This grueling walk is extremely crushing for the frail body of this 70-year-old and with no time to recover she repeats this journey again the next day.

"When I collect the water from the well it's muddy. So, we let it sit still for enough time to let the mud settle at the bottom before we drink it." Halima explains. The risk of getting infected with Cholera is increased when ingesting dirty water but to Halima and her family this isn’t even a concern at this point, after all, it’s either drinking this water or having no water at all.

This is what hundreds of thousands in Somalia go through every day just to get water for their families and what has remained of their livestock. Across the country, the ongoing drought has dried up many major water points and caused water prices to spike to levels drought-stricken families can no longer afford.

Halima's family consists of 15 members. However, since the beginning of this year, Halima has been living with her 10-year-old granddaughter and 120-year-old sick mother. The rest of the family migrated to the Bari region, which had received average, localized rain back in December 2016. While others moved to different parts of the Mudug region to seek assistance. 

"My mother is too old and weak to go anywhere and since there is a lack of transportation means, we have decided to stay behind." She explained. Halima now takes care of her elderly mother in dire conditions, left only with a few ailing goats.

Half of the population in Somalia – 6.2 million out of 12.3 million – people are in immediate need of humanitarian assistance for survival. A collapsing labor market, rising food and water prices and increases in animal deaths have led to widespread displacement as people leave their homes in search of food and water.

More than 70,000 children are malnourished and many have dropped out of school. Because of decreased access to safe and clean water, diarrhea and cholera outbreaks are on the rise. This deteriorating situation is signaling towards the occurrence of another famine, like that of 2011, which claimed the lives of 260,000 people. Back then the world promised ‘never again’. Only six years later millions of Somalis find themselves in a life-threatening situation and yet again at the brink of another famine.

The need is more urgent and overwhelming than ever, and if we join forces we have a chance to ensure that people have access to food and water. We have a chance to keep the promise and prevent famine from happening. Join Adeso in the effort to avert famine by donating today.