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Just three years after famine was declared in parts of Somalia, a poor rainy season is once again threatening the lives and livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of poor households. The effects of these poor rains, namely disappointing harvests and rising food prices, are made worse by military operations and clan fighting, causing new displacements and disrupted markets.
In addition, our partners on the ground are seeing sick livestock, dried up water sources and an increase in the number of children being treated for acute malnutrition. While we wait for definitive figures on this worsening situation, this blog, provided by Solidarités International, aims to highlight the experiences of local people coping with this new crisis, and what our partners are doing to help in some of the most affected areas.
South and central Somalia has suffered consecutive poor rainy seasons causing a severe water shortage. In Gedo, both the Gu and Deyr seasons (April-June and Oct-Dec) performed poorly, completely failing in some areas. The dry season has been particularly harsh causing all the temporary water sources to dry up.
Gedo region is served by open water sources that are seasonal, small in size and unreliable during extended dry seasons. Local vendors have since been trucking water from the few existing boreholes, an average of 30 kilometres away.
After assessing the affected population, Solidarités International (SI) prioritised provision of water via vouchers using funding from the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO). “We monitored the situation according to certain triggers including the evolution of water prices per 20 litre jerry can as the dry spell wore on, changes in distance to the nearest water point, migration patterns, and the quantity of water accessed by household per day,” says Jillo Ellema, SI WASH Project Manager.
The assessment found that the price of water had more than doubled, making it unaffordable for the most vulnerable households. Water points had dried up in most locations. Without access to safe water, families would resort to unsafe water sources that could lead to high risk of water-borne diseases.
The community, through village committees and the area chief provided Solidarités with the names of the most vulnerable members of the community. In a public meeting, Solidarités confirmed the true identity of the persons proposed by the community.