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How access to clean water changes the lives of displaced communities in Yemen

UNICEF Yemen/2018/Ali
© UNICEF Yemen/2018/Ali
Marwan next to his water truck after substituting his old rusty metal tank with a brand new one in Tur-Al-Baha, Lahij Governorate.

By Ali Qasem Ali, Communication Officer, UNICEF Aden Field Office

Aden, Yemen, 10 September 2018 – In Yemen, 16 million people lack access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services. Access to safe drinking water is particularly critical to prevent waterborne diseases from spreading further in the war-torn country.

In Tur Al-Baha, Lahij governorate, in southern Yemen, the conflict-affected communities are in urgent need of WASH assistance and UNICEF is supporting them with the daily delivery of clear water and the distribution of essential supplies, such as ceramic water filters and Basic Hygiene Kits (BHK).

Radman Ali is 77 years old and he lives in Tur Al-Baha district. Together with his family, he had to leave his house in Al-Sha'ab because of the escalation of the conflict. Radman is suffering from kidney deficiency and stomach ulcers. “Water has always been a challenge for us. We are used to walk for hours to fetch it. The water coming from those wells still needs to be purified and we keep hearing about people suffering from kidney failure due to contaminated water,” Radman says.

As one of UNICEF’s beneficiaries, Radman has now access to safe water: “We can finally drink clean water. I liked the distributed filters because they are easy to use and effective. Moreover, I worry less now because my children are healthy and do not suffer from water-related diseases."

UNICEF Yemen/2018/Ali
© UNICEF Yemen/2018/Ali
Radman Ali sitting next to the BHK he received from UNICEF in Tur-Al-Baha, Lahj Governorate.

In addition to the distribution, UNICEF also conducted a campaign targeting water truck drivers to raise their awareness about the risks of using rusty metal tanks to deliver water to their people. Following the implementation of this initiative, a significant drop in kidney failure among the population was observed.

“I have always delivered water with my metal tank without being aware of the consequences on people’s health. Thanks to UNICEF, I changed my old tank into a new polyethylene one. This is healthier and safer for everybody.” explained Marwan, one of the many truck drivers that benefitted from UNICEF’s awareness sessions.

Together with the support of the German development bank KfW, UNICEF continues to deliver emergency WASH support in Tur Al-Baha district by delivering daily 166,500 litres of water to 6,000 internally displaced persons and members of vulnerable communities. So far, 1,000 ceramic water filters and 1,000 BHK have been distributed. In order to create a long-term impact for the targeted population, a total of 83,000 have been reached by awareness campaigns on WASH life-saving practices.



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