Somali villagers fear dying of thirst as cash to buy water runs out in Mudug

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Sawir/kaydka/Ergo Photo | File photo/Ergo

Radio Ergo 19 April, 2017 MUDUG


(ERGO) - Families in Lasa-Adale village, 20 km east of Galkayo town in northern Somalia’s drought-hit Mudug region, say they do not have enough water for the next few days because they have run out of cash.

Awil Ahmed Khayr’s family of eight ran out of water two days ago and are depending on their neighbours for just enough drink water to keep them alive.

“I fear we might die of thirst,” Awil told Radio Ergo.

“Getting water is difficult for the people in the village now and those who still have a little left don’t have even enough to survive beyond tomorrow.

We request Galmudug administration to start trucking water urgently to the village.”

Since the hand-dug wells in the area dried up in early March, the 70 families in the village and other nomadic herders whose animals used to drink from the wells have been buying water on credit from commercial truckers.

Commercial trucks bringing water from Do’ol village 20 km away were selling a 200 litre barrel for $3 (80,000 Somali shillings) in Lasa-Adale. One whole 10,000 litre truckload therefore sold for $150.

However, the businessmen, who are not from the village, have refused to sell any more water before the local residents pay their debts. They have to cover their fuel and other costs and say it is not clear when and how the villagers, who are poor, will be able to repay what they have borrowed.

Khalif Aden Noor, 55, who has four wives and 21 children, told Radio Ergo he owes the water truckers about $16.  His family is eking out the last drops of water they have left for drinking and cooking.

“We have been buying water for the past one and a half months. The last time I bought a barrel was 12 days ago. Now I have a debt of 400,000 Somali shillings,” Khalif said.

“We have stopped washing clothes and bathing and any other activity of life that requires the use of water…We have no means to be move away from here. We are a large family so we are here in this place with no water because we do not have any other option.”

Khalif’s family depended on the livestock he kept in the village. But his herd of 200 goats has been whittled down by the drought to just 15 weak animals that cannot be sold.

Towards the end of March, the international agency CESVI delivered 20 water trucks to Lasa-Adale and other villages in the surrounding nomadic areas. The water was spread among many recipients and villagers say they have not received any other help.  The last rain in this area fell two years ago.

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