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Providing clean water to displaced families in Aden

A woman with a baby sitting next to 3 Jerrycans

A displaced mother with her child in one displacement site in Dar-Sad district of Aden governorate. Photo: Bassam Saleh/CARE.

A displaced mother with her child in one displacement site in Dar-Sad district of Aden governorate. Photo: Bassam Saleh/CARE.

Yemen is one of the world’s most water-scarce countries. Water scarcity, along with the impact of the prolonged conflict that has been raging the country since 2015, has left more than half of the population in Yemen – 17.8 million people – in need of urgent support to meet their basic water and sanitation needs.

A young boy looking at a tap water with two Jerrycan in front of him
A displaced boy waits patiently to fill his carry cans with water. Photo: Bassam Saleh/CARE.

With conflict being the main cause of displacement, Yemen has the fourth-highest level of internal displacement in the world. More than four million Yemeni people have been displaced since 2015. Although the majority of Internally Displaced People (IDPs) are hosted within communities, nearly one million IDPs are living in 1,589 sites, including both formal camps and informal settlements. Access to clean water is reported as one of the highest priority needs of displaced families.  The absence of health, water, sanitation, and hygiene services in displacement sites increases the risk of deadly diseases spread, such as COVID-19, cholera, malaria, and diphtheria among the displaced population.

A young boy a and a woman watching tap waters installed in a white wall
The burden of fetching water for the household often falls on the shoulders of women and children. Photo: Bassam Saleh/CARE.

Women and children are disproportionately affected by displacement. More than 70 percent of IDPs in Yemen are women and children. Nearly 30 percent of displaced households are headed by women who often lack education, vocational skills, and livelihoods. IDP boys and girls face problems accessing education and other essential public services.

Access to clean and safe water remains crucial for the health and survival of children and their caregivers. Whether it’s for drinking, cooking, or washing, water is essential to protect health, prevent the spread of deadly diseases, and maintain dignity.

A man, woman and kids posing for a photo smiling
Mohammed Saad and his family have been displaced in Aden for three years. Photo: Bassam Saleh/CARE.

“I’ve been in living in this camp for three years,” says 52-year-old Mohammed Saad, who left his home in Al Hodeidah governorate and sought refuge with his family in the Saudi camp in Aden. “All families here suffer from the uncovered and unclean water wells. However, we endured walking long distances to fetch water from these wells. People used to struggle to find clean water, and children and women became weak from fetching water. Even donkeys would often die after one year of fetching water. Sewage swamps and garbage scattered around our tents were a big hazard for our health,” he adds.

A group of men in yellow vests and helmets
Workers build a water distribution point in the Saudi IDPs camp in Dar-Sad district in Aden governorate. Photo: Bassam Saleh/CARE

In 2021, CARE intervened in the Dar-Sad district of Aden governorate to provide emergency life-saving water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) assistance to vulnerable displaced and host communities. The intervention aims to save lives, prevent disease spread and improve the living conditions of targeted communities. Through the intervention, 3,332 people living in three IDPs camps and the surrounding areas benefited from the improved water supply. Furthermore, 58,403 people benefited from hygiene awareness activities and the provision of basic hygiene items.

A group of people working on a construction site
Through the intervention, the water well near Othman camp was rehabilitated and a solar water pumping system was installed to ensure that IDPs can access clean safe water. Photo: Bassam Saleh/CARE.

“We’ve completed the rehabilitation of two water wells as part of the intervention,” says Mohammed Shakeel, 32 and CARE’s WASH Field Officer and Engineer. “The rehabilitation work included building pumping rooms as well as installing water tanks and solar panel systems.”

“It’s inspiring to see how the rehabilitation work can shift the lives of the displaced people,” he says. “For instance, the establishment of water distribution points in Othman camp frees children and women from walking long distances away from the camp in order to get water. Also, the installation of a solar pumping system in Ammar bin Yasir camp and Saudi camp eliminates the need to use generators that run on expensive fuel, which raise water prices and pollute the environment.”

Two buildings , one old with a lot of waste infront of it and the other one is new with little to no waste next to it
The Location of the newly-rehabilitated water well in Ammar bin Yasir before and after the cleaning campaign. Photo: Bassam Saleh/CARE.

In addition to water provision, CARE works to promote community participation in public hygiene awareness and water quality monitoring. In partnership with other organizations and community leaders in camps, CARE encouraged IDPs to clean the areas near water sources and around their tents.

“The area near the closest well to our camp, which is also the only water source we can access, was surrounded by rubbish,” says 44-year-old Salha, a female resident in Ammar bin Yasir camp. “The situation has changed a lot. The garbage was moved to a remote site. Now we have clean sufficient water for every day usage.”


A group of kids sitting on the floor
Educating displaced children about best hygiene practices. Photo: Bassam Saleh/CARE

Many IDPs find themselves at a higher risk of contracting contagious diseases because they don’t have access to clean water, hygiene items, and proper health knowledge. Practicing good hygiene is essential for preventing the spread of diseases. Therefore, the provision of hygiene kits to displaced families was integrated with the promotion of best hygiene practices such as handwashing, food hygiene, and proper use of latrines. Educating children about best hygiene practices is crucial because they are the most vulnerable, and they have the ability to vastly adapt and change their families’ behaviors.


Three beatiful kids standing and smiling
Displaced children stand in front of the newly-installed water tank. Photo: Bassam Saleh/CARE

“The contamination of drinking water was a major cause of the spread of diseases and a real concern for us,” says Mohammed. “Thanks to the intervention, now we live in an improved environment that is also safe for our children. Finally, we have a permanent water supply and we can practice hygiene behaviors effectively,” he concludes.

White water tanks
A Picture from Othman IDPs camp showing the difference between the old and new water points. Photo: Bassam Saleh/CARE.
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