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Photo Essay: UNICEF helps the communities of Socotra Island to rebuild their lives after devastating cyclones

By Ali Qasem Ali, Communication Officer, UNICEF Aden Field Office
Photography: General Authority for Rural Water Supply (GARWSP), Sayun Governorate

15 August 2018 – Known as the “Galapagos of the Indian Ocean”, Socotra is one of the islands’ paradises on the planet and one of the rare places less affected by the ongoing conflict in Yemen. Unfortunately, the island was hit by the powerful Cyclone Mekunu last May, causing tremendous damage to the island’s already fragile infrastructure and leaving the local communities in a dire humanitarian situation. Many of the water sources the population relies on were submerged by strong torrents caused by heavy rains.

With the generous contribution of KfW, the German development bank, UNICEF has been able to rapidly provide emergency assistance to the people of Socotra, through lifesaving water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) interventions:

  • A total of 54 water trucks of pure water (216,000 liters) is being delivered daily to 14,000 people in need;
  • Some 1,000 basic hygiene kits have been distributed to sterilize water sources in prevention of epidemic outbreaks such as cholera;
  • UNICEF also distributed 5 water tanks of 5,000 liters each in the most affected areas.

Below are some photographs illustrating the reconstruction efforts of UNICEF, with the support of KfW, to help the residents of Socotra to rebuild their lives.

Hassan, a resident of Socotra, filling up jerrycans from the UNICEF water truck, which is the only daily water source available in the area. “Thanks to UNICEF and KfW vital assistance, I was able to save my family from a disaster.”

UNICEF’s Rapid Response team (RRT) delivering Basic Hygiene Kits (BHKT) to households in need in Socotra. More than 1,000 BHKT were distributed in the most affected areas on the island.

A member of UNICEF RRT sterilizing a family water tank with chlorine for safe and clear water to be used by the family members.

Omer, a 12-year-old boy, filling up his family’s traditional water tank from UNICEF’s water truck.
“When I hear the sound of the water truck in the morning, I rush out to take the waterpipe and fill up our tank, I like to do it by myself. If this water truck would stop passing by our village, it would be very difficult for us to access pure water.”

UNICEF team installing a water tank in one of the most affected place on the island. This water tank is filled up on daily basis from UNICEF water trucks to ensure a continuous access to safe water for rural communities.

UNICEF RRT team conducting an awareness session with local community leaders on the importance of water chlorination to clear the water from germs and bacteria and prevent epidemic diseases.



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