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Bringing water to communities in Yemen

More than eight years of conflict in Yemen has destroyed vital infrastructure, and left many communities without access to critical, life-saving services - including water. With funds from ECHO, the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) has been working in Al Merdah, Hodaydah governorate, to help ensure communities have access to safe, clean drinking water.

Water tanks in Al Huadyadah Governorate, Yemen. Feb 2023, DRC

Posted on 21 Feb 2023

Written by Nuha Haider

Ali, 40 years old, was forced to flee his home and is now living in a camp for internally displaced people (IDPs) in Al Merdah, Hodeida governorate. He says: “We used to rely on buying drinking water from a water truck, but if it broke down, this meant we could not get water sometimes for days. All the families in the camp depend on their children to go and fetch water, so I needed to buy a donkey to help me and my neighbours transport water." Hassan*, 30 years old, one of the host communities' inhabitants in the Al Merdah area, says: “Before, our children used to have to go many times to collect enough water – 20 times back and forth. We lost hope to have a sustainable source of water in this region.”

Thanks to funding from ECHO, DRC has worked to improve access to water in Al Merdah for people like Ali and Hassan. As part of the project DRC worked with local authorities to rebuild the critical water networks.

"There was an urgent need for water projects in Al Merdah camp and the neighbouring areas. There were unsustainable water points for the IDPs in the area, as for the community. People were depending on water from the well, which was not clean, while others relied on buying water from water trucks,” said Abu Al-Ghaith Mohammad, the Secretary General of Az Zuhra District in Hodaydah.

"The local authority thanks all DRC's staff who contributed to this project and also thanks the donor; I was impressed with the project plan. The organisation is transparent and flexible.”

/  Abu Al-Ghaith Mohammad, the Secretary General of Az Zuhra District in Hodaydah

DRC’s WASH teams built an elevated tank to store water and installed a water pipeline network and 40 water distribution points to ensure that the water can be delivered to a wide area, reaching two large IDP sites and four surrounding host community villages near Al Merdah village.

Looking up at the water tank, Hassan* says: “We have never seen anything like this here before. Being able to access water has improved life here in a lot of ways.” He adds, smiling: “Whoever had a donkey in the past was acting as if he had a luxurious car, as it helped in facilitating water accessibility, but after this water project, I started thinking of selling my donkey.”

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