Dying For Water Amidst The Drought
Published March 6, 2017 by Abdikarim Ali
When we first met Hawa Mohamoud, she was with her three children getting water from a water catchment near the pastoral camp where she lives. it is not every day that we get to see such pastoral congestion in one place,however, the situation in which the drought leaves these families is far from ordinary.
Hawa moved to Dhanaha when she heard about the drought response activities on the bank of Gebi valley in Southern Sanaag region. Years ago, Hawa’s family was rich; they had more than six hundred heads of livestock. Their livestock comfortably sustained their life and covered their essential needs including food, medicine, and clothes. As a pastoral family, they had a good life.
Never in her worst nightmares did Hawa imagine that one day, her family would have to ask others for food. However over the past three years, that’s how they have been surviving; receiving rations of food from a nearby village. After all the major water points in her previous locality dried up and cholera broke out leaving a lot of people sick including two of her children, the family migrated to Dhanaha.
“It was getting really bad” Hawa recalls “A nine-year-old boy died from cholera right before we left, and my children started getting sick too. It’s because people were drinking dirty water that remained at the bottom of the wells.” She continued. “When I heard about Adeso’s water trucking in Gabi area I decided to move here to get clean water for my children,” says Hawo
Over the past two months, Adeso has been providing clean water to several pastoral communities in Gebi Valley including the area Hawo’s family has moved to.
“I am glad we can get clean water for drinking and cooking. Our children are now recovering from cholera and common cold and they need clean water to keep them hydrated. ” she adds.
The drought is affecting not only the pastoral communities in Somalia but its impact is also being felt in urban settlements where some pastoralists sought refuge. Many Somalis have dubbed this drought 'the equalizer'. It has reduced all pastoralists across the country to the same level of impoverishment; while placing a huge burden on relatives who themselves have no steady income sometimes, to help family and sometimes non-family members through this plight.
“We are thankful for getting clean water, but we also need food. We are currently living on the food rations we sometimes get from the communities in nearby villages but one can only give so much before the burden becomes unbearable. We can’t expect this hospitality for a long time”. Hawa said.
Adeso is providing affected families access to clean water and food. We also preparing to provide economic & asset recovery, supporting local authority disaster preparedness and response efforts through the following activities.