The gift of water

clean and reliable water supplies are delivered to communities in Sa'ada

Harriet Dwyer
UNICEF Yemen/2019

11 December 2019

Sa'ada, in the north of Yemen, bordering Saudi Arabia, is one of the country’s poorest areas. Many communities have been made more vulnerable by the ongoing conflict. It remains one of the more difficult areas for humanitarian actors to access to provide life saving assistance.

Despite challenges to access, is some of the hardest to reach districts (AsSafra, Sehar and Ketaf), UNICEF and partners have been working to provide sustainable and safe water supplies to more than 10,000 vulnerable people. The Nushor water system, runs through Wadi Nushor and is truly a lifeline for the surrounding communities.

The population of Wadi Nushor have always struggled to secure sufficient water supplies. Often relying on shallow well water. As the conflict escalated here in May 2015, fuel shortages increased and there communities were displaced and in search of safety. This severely impacted livelihoods and put an additional strain on limited water supplies. To respond, UNICEF began to truck water supplies.

UNICEF Yemen/2019
Water trucking in Nushor, Saada in 2016

It became clear a more sustainable water source needed to be developed for the community. So, by June 2018 a more permanent WASH system was developed. Tragically only one month later it was significantly destroyed in an attack.

UNICEF Yemen/2019
The scene after attacks destroyed the water system in 2018

After the attack, UNICEF, the Saada local water corporation and donors like OCHA, immediately responded. By August 2019, the water system was entirely rebuilt. Safe water now flows to the entire community.

“It has been remarkable to see the impact this rehabilitated system is having on the community. A safe water supply is a lifeline for hard to reach communities in Sa'ada, it is vital for their survival. The support from OCHA for this project was essential to its success,” says Kinley Penjor, Chief of UNICEF’s Field Office in Sa'ada.


UNICEF Yemen/2019
The solar powered water system is a sustainable water supply to vulnerable communities in Saada

The conflict continues to impact the lives of people in Sa'ada and in October the water system was again attacked but this time the system kept functioning. A solar power system means that into the future this water source should remain functional and sustainable for vulnerable families across the area.