IOM Yemen: "NOW MY YOUNG DAUGHTER CAN SAFELY COLLECT WATER ON HER OWN"
Every day, as the sun rises early in the morning, displaced people on Yemen’s west coast, often women and young children, begin a grueling journey. They leave their shelters to walk long distances under the sun in search of a vital life source: clean and safe drinking water.
In many areas, especially in the displacement sites in the south of Ta’iz city, access to safe water is an extreme challenge. Displaced people often lack resources to dig wells while the farms where they can source water are located far from where they have settled.
Climate change continues to contribute to increasingly harsh droughts – a phenomenon exacerbating the shortage of water and the suffering of families forced to flee their homes.
“Before the conflict, we had enough water in our homes, but once we were forced to flee we started to suffer from water shortages,” said Shaker Mustafa, Al Sowa water project supervisor in Al Ma'afer district and member of the nearby host community.
“Most people in this area can only collect water once per month,” he added.
“It was not easy for us to bring water. I used to walk with my little girl Sumaia twice a day for more than a half hour to the nearest water well,” said Mariam*, a displaced mother in Al Ma'afir district.
Displaced people often carry their water containers on their heads or tie them with rope on donkeys, their main form of transportation.
In Yemen, where water infrastructure is often damaged or ineffective, more than 15.3 million people need assistance to access water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services.
To relieve some of these struggles and improve water access for host and displaced communities, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) with support from the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief), have upgraded, rehabilitated or established three water sites in South Ta'iz.
These three water projects are run by a sustainable, solar-powered water pumping system that benefits more than 40,000 people across three locations in two districts where host communities have welcomed thousands of displaced families.
“Now many people's troubles are over. They feel reassured because there is safe and stable water in their area,” said Mohammed, the water project supervisor in Al Ma'afer district.
“I am happy because we have a close and clean source of water. Now my young daughter can safely collect water on her own at any time,” added Mariam.
These water supply projects supported by KSrelief have made a huge impact to alleviate the burden that host communities and displaced people were experiencing in South Ta'iz.
*Name has been changed to protect identities.