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Clean water provides health and hope for victims of Yemen conflict

The Abu Hamas family in Yemen washes their hands in a basin. Teaching proper hygiene is an important part of PWRDF’s work with water. Photo/ADRA Yemen

March 22, 2019

By Mike Ziemerink

In Yemen, raging conflict has left 16 million people without access to a reliable source of water, leading to the world’s worst cholera outbreak in history. The Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund has given $20,000 to Canadian Churches in Action in order to provide much needed relief including access to clean water.

Yemen has been consumed by conflict since 2014 when rebel groups took the capital city of Sana’a and forced the president to flee the country. The conflict has escalated since then with airstrikes and bombings blanketing the nation and destroying vital infrastructure citizens rely on.

According to a needs assessment by Islamic Relief Yemen, who will be implementing the project PWRDF is sponsoring, the Sada’a Governorate is among the most affected in terms of water borne diseases. “The people in the target communities are currently drinking water from unprotected sources, which has caused water borne diseases, including cholera and diarrhea,” said Naba Gurung, PWRDF’s Humanitarian Response Coordinator.

PWRDF, through Canadian Churches in Action, is helping to improve the situation and provide 2,171 households (15,200 individuals) with access to safe drinking water.

The project will refurbish an existing well, making it operational and installing a solar pump to allow easy and quick access for members of the community to get clean safe water. The project will also begin conducting routine water quality tests and water purification as necessary.

“Many of the assessments showed the prevalence of these diseases were associated not only with unsafe drinking water but also with poor hygiene practices,” Gurung continued.

This realization spurred the creation of water management committees. These committees, evenly comprised of men and women, will be trained on a variety of topics including where to find, purify and use water, how to protect sources of water as well as proper hygiene practices. There will also be conflict management and financial management training for committee members. The formation of these committees will allow the skills taught by the project to continue in the community even after the project has ended.

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