The Persistence of Water Projects: An Effervescent & Rejuvenating Lifesaver for Communities
Aid displaced and host communities in their efforts to access clean water and bolster Marib's infrastructure
Although providing uncontaminated and secure drinking water is of paramount importance, Yemen continues to grapple with the adverse consequences of water scarcity experienced by a majority of its population. This predicament is further exacerbated in areas where there is a shortage of water projects and interrupted access to basic services, consequently causing a profound impact on the wellbeing of the people.
According to Fatima Al-Khalidi, a broadcast journalist for Al-Jawf Radio stations and a resident of Marib city, “the majority of residents in the region rely on water trucks for their access to water, which is frequently substandard in cleanliness and purity, as the trucks themselves are often in poor condition, deteriorated through rust and insubstantially maintained, leading to health concerns for the local inhabitants.” Another resident of Marib, Abdul Hakim Mohammed, explains that “the demand for water trucks is notably high, resulting in an inflated market and consequently, skyrocketing prices for the supply of water. The quality of the water itself also lacks consistency and is unreliable, potentially causing further health risks.”
According to 48-year-old Mahmoud Al-Abdali, who lives with his five children in Al-Salam neighborhood, “the current situation is particularly challenging.” He notes that “the cost of a water truck is heavily influenced by fluctuating market conditions, particularly when there is a shortage of fuel supply. This poses a significant difficulty for people living under the ongoing conditions.” In addition to this, Mr. Al-Abdali states that “sometimes, the water provided to residents contains high levels of salt and is consequently unsuitable for human consumption. As a result, we are compelled to purchase water from trucks for drinking and use the salty water for washing, exacerbating the financial burden.”
According to Hussein Ahmed Bin Jalal, the Director General of the Water and Sanitation Corporation in the governorate, “the Corporation has been facing significant setbacks in providing relief to people due to the lack of resources and suspension of the state budget.” He goes on to add, "We were completely helpless in the face of the continuous demands of people to provide projects to end their ongoing suffering with water. However, through coordination with UNICEF and funding provided by the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center, water projects have come to be implemented, which will provide continuous and sustainable water services to the people. "God willing, these projects will enable local communities to dispense with water trucks and unhealthy community-owned projects," he added.
Efficient and Effective Response
With funding from the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre, UNICEF works tirelessly to aid displaced and host communities in their efforts to access clean water and bolster Marib's infrastructure. This tireless work has resulted in the implementation of three water projects, which were initiated at the beginning of 2023 and will continue for three months, targeting the Al-Salam, Al-Siyanah, and Al-Sahn neighborhoods of Marib, covering a total distance of 32 kilometers and benefiting around 61,200 beneficiaries.
Hussein Ahmed Bin Jalal, Director General of the Water and Sanitation Corporation, emphasized the importance of the water projects in Marib in light of the ongoing displacement, urbanization, and rising population within the city. He noted that the city, which had a population of 34,000 prior to conflict, is now home to over three million people, making the implementation of these projects critical for the provision of clean and sanitary water to these residents, alleviating their concern related to accessing it. Jalal further explained that the water produced by these projects is uncontaminated and safe for human consumption. The Local Water & Sanitation Corporation monitors the water's quality by conducting routine inspections and pumping it once every three days to ensure continuity of service. He expressed his hopes for the continued supply of fresh water, which would eventually result in the avoidance of the use of water trucks, high-sulfur underground well.
Project Consultant, Eng. Anwar Al-Mansoub says: "These projects are sustainable and benefit the people of Marib, because host communities and displaced people are in dire need for water, which is the basis of life."
A Positive Impact and Overwhelming Joy
According to Fatima Al- Khalidi, “When I see the ongoing excavations in Marib, and the hard work put in by the workers involved in the project, it fills me with hope, due to the severe water scarcity problem that all residents of the city face. “It is really tremendous efforts,” she adds, “for which we are thankful, of course." Al- Khalidi explains, “the key benefit of the project is the provision of easy access to water. This not only reassures her from a health perspective that the water is pure and clean, but also spares residents the burden of having to put in effort or spend money to get a reliable water supply, not to mention the 24/7 water services offered by the project will be highly beneficial to the community.”
Abdul Hakim Mohammed, one of the residents in Marib city, has expressed his appreciation for the project, stating that it "solves many problems and provides a service of basic life services." He goes on to affirm that the impact of UNICEF and King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre projects are "very amazing and wonderful." Similarly, Mahmoud Al-Abdali has emphasized “the importance of the project for himself, his family, and the community as a whole.”