As the International Rescue Committee prepares to celebrate World Water Day 2014, stories from one town in Somalia remind us of just how powerfully having access to water can transform life for the better.
"The installation of this water point has really improved our health. We thank the IRC for doing this."
- Hawo Tahliil Mohammed
Haarhaar is a remote town in the arid Mudug region of Central Somalia. Like much of Somalia, Haarhaar experiences long periods of little to no rainfall. Drought and famine are real threats for the local community and people have been known to walk for up to 10 kilometres per day just to access clean water. The IRC has rehabilitated water sources in and around Haarhaar town to support this community’s ability to sustain itself through times of drought.
"Before the taps were installed we used to get water using jerry cans. We used to carry them on our back,” explains Hawo Tahliil Mohammed. Hawo is originally from Mogadishu. She was forced to flee her home because of continued fighting and is now living in Haarhaar. “Now the water is closer to our homes and we are very grateful for that.”
New sources of water in Haarhaar are not only changing the lives of the town’s residents, but the face of the town itself. Construction of a new school and health centre is underway, and small-scale farms and businesses have sprung up throughout the community.
“The establishment of this water point was very necessary for both the livestock and the people living in this region,” says Aweys Ali Saeed, governor of the Mudug Region. “Livestock are drinking water from here, and people have started constructing their homes. We want to say thank you. It is truly a gift.”
Since 2007, the IRC has been working with local communities to repair existing water sources and to provide access to new sources of safe water in Haarhaar town. Watch this short film to find out more about this lifesaving work.