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Water is life

A small hut with a door and a small tree on the side

A humble hut in Hamziya Village in Bajil, Hodeidah

A humble hut in Hamziya Village in Bajil, Hodeidah

Yemen is suffering from the worst humanitarian crisis in the world, derived from over six years of active conflict. Fighting has caused significant damage to essential infrastructure, including water and sanitation systems and health facilities.

There are 15.4 million people, including over 3.4 million women and 8.4 million children, who require immediate support to meet their basic water, hygiene and sanitation (WASH) needs. More than 50% of them are in severe need.

Al Hamziya is one of the remote villages of Bajil, a district in Hodeidah governorate, Yemen’s principal port on the Red Sea. People of Al Hamziya village live in straitened circumstances. Residents have suffered, for many years, from water scarcity and a lack of water systems. Villagers had to endure daily journeys to fetch water. This can be physically and emotionally draining, as well as time-consuming and risky, especially for women and girls who are often responsible for providing water for their households. From early morning, villagers have to walk long distances to reach the nearest water well to collect water in their humble jerry cans. They then have to walk back home, struggling with the weight of the jerry cans and the heat of the sun. The long ride to get water is not without danger: conflicts at water points, risky roads, dogs and snakes, and harsh weather conditions are some of the challenges they face on their way.

A man and a small boy standing in the door way of a hut
Gilan, a disabled, standing with his son in front of the community committee gathering hut.

“Our lives revolve around fetching water,” says 40-year-old Gilan Jaber, a father of four children from Al Hamziya village. “Due to drought and neglect, there are no sustainable sources of water in my area. The aged water network stopped working a long time ago, and there are very few water trucks in this area. The prolonged conflict has not only damaged the water systems or led to an economic crisis. It has also tripled our suffering.”

The water infrastructure in Yemen is operating at less than 5% efficiency. An estimated 49% of Yemenis have no access to safe water. Water quality remains a serious issue as many households’ report issues relating to the taste, appearance or smell of their water source.*

With funding from the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs (GMoFA), CARE rehabilitated the water network in Al Hamziya village and installed a new water tank, which provides clean water for three villages. During the rehabilitation work, laborers adhered to COVID-19 precautionary measures, such as social distancing.

Moreover, 15 male and female volunteers conducted home-to-home visits for a period of three months, to promote key health messages about water and food hygiene as well as epidemics prevention such as COVID-19, cholera and diarrhea.

“We felt thrilled when the construction equipment arrived at our village,” says Gilan. “Thanks to CARE, the network is fully working and water is back in our village.” Gilan and four other residents in his village voluntarily work to manage and monitor the water network. CARE trained them to handle management, financial, maintenance and supervision work of the water network.

“It is a dream that came true,” adds Gilan. “Water at home is a blessing. Gone are the donkey days! They can now work in the market only. We are also thankful that the children are back to school! The water is abundant now, but the residents use it so carefully and preciously.”  

Residents of Al Hamziya village took the initiative to collect one million and 800 thousand YR to upgrade the water network with more solar panels and replaced the old submersible pump.
“The network was expanded to provide water and inspiration to the surrounding villages,” Gilan concludes.

A tall tower
Tower water tank high in the sky of Hamziya Village
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