By Brett Tarver
The multi-year drought that has afflicted Somalia has nearly drained Khadar Omer Ismael's water catchment dry. Instead of a pool full of fresh water, his family's water source in Ijara Village, Somaliland, has been reduced to a few inches of stagnant green sludge filled with algae and a host of water-borne diseases.
“The water is so bad, not even our cow will drink it,” Khadar father said with a glint in his eye, maintaining a little bit of humour in a very tough situation. The water doesn't just taste bad, it is dangerous to drink for his family and everyone in the community. Malaria, Typhoid and diarrhea became rampant.
“When I had Typhoid I had horrible headaches and couldn’t stop shivering. I was unable to move for a week,” Khadar recalls. “It was terrible. A lot of us got sick.”
World Vision responded to the drought and resultant illnesses with a comprehensive emergency response to relieve the suffering in Ijara Village and 30 other communities in the region, assisting nearly 12,000 people who were in the greatest need.
The response focused on both treatment and prevention at the same time. A mobile health clinic treated people with water-borne illnesses and other health needs. And a new water, sanitation and hygiene program included the distribution of purification packets to provide safe, drinkable water.
Khadar's daughter, seven-year-old Suhuur, holds up two cups of water from her family’s water source. On the right is what she used to drink. On the left is clean, clear, water made safe thanks to purification tablets provided by World Vision.
“We’re all so very thankful to World Vision for what they have done for us,” Khadar said. Water-borne illnesses are now rare in Khadar’s village. However, while diseases are being held in check here, the damaging effects of drought are being felt across the region.
More than 6.2 million people across Somalia, nearly half the population, are in need of immediate humanitarian assistance. The threat of famine is real if the current situation is not addressed.
World Vision is appealing for US$18.5 million in emergency funding to assist 530,000 of the most vulnerable people across Somalia with targeted food security, emergency health & nutrition, livelihoods, protection, shelter and WASH programs.
Featured image: Khadar pours water made clean by purification tablets into his daughter's cup