In Yemen, the sound of tanker trucks bringing water into communities is too common. With the civil war making other sources unreliable, many families are forced to purchase the water they need to survive from private merchants. They pay steep prices, without any guarantee that the water is safe for drinking or handwashing. Some families can’t afford to do so. Meanwhile, wells sit, broken down or without enough fuel to be used, right in their own communities.
When people don’t have good quality water, diseases are much more prevalent. In fact, with 60 percent of the population lacking access to this vital resource, Yemen is dealing with one of the world’s worst outbreaks of cholera to date. Now, with COVID-19 making handwashing even more essential, there is urgent need to respond.
Working with an interfaith coalition, PWS&D helped meet the water, sanitation and hygiene needs of Yemeni people by rehabilitating water sources in the Sada’a district. Now, the 15,200 people in this community not only have reliable, local access to quality-assured water, but they can spend their limited incomes on other essentials like food and medicine.
A Dire Need
Mohammed is a 58-year-old man who relies on this newly rehabilitated water source. Remembering what life used to be like, he comments: “the situation before the project was bad with a dire need for water. We used to bring water via truck from far away at a high price which people couldn’t afford.” Especially concerned for internally displaced people (IDPs), he shares, “This project is a very good one. IDPs who fled from [other areas] have now been able to benefit from this solar project.”
One such internally displaced person is Mahdi. Forced from his home, he now lives in the Sada’a district. “The water,” he reflects with gratitude, “now reaches many people’s homes.”
Water: A Long-Term Investment
Supporting communities’ access to clean water and sanitation is one of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. That’s because water is essential not only to health, but also to poverty reduction, food security, peace and human rights, ecosystems, and education. According to the UN, COVID-19 will not be stopped without access to safe water for people living in vulnerable situations.
In order to make sure families have consistent access to clean water for years to come, one of the important steps taken to reopen this well was the installation of a solar water pump. A local water committee further ensures the sustainability of the water source by making sure the community is trained to run and maintain the well. As one resident shares: “the organization is so cooperative with the residents. Its projects are wonderful. It has great impacts as it is alleviating the suffering of the residents in the area.”
To support PWS&D’s ongoing response to the Yemen crisis, click below or call us at 1-800-619-7301 or 416-441-1111 x291. Mark your donation “Yemen Crisis.”