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CARE’s water and sanitation interventions improve quality of life in Southwest Yemen

Amna Al Ezy, Al Ashroh Village, Taiz Governorate Photo: CARE Yemen

Amna Al Ezy, Al Ashroh Village, Taiz Governorate Photo: CARE Yemen

“I was too ecstatic to sleep at night when I first heard water would reach our homes,” Amna Al Ezy says. “Especially the kitchen and the toilets. Now we have a water tank. This means the world to me.”

Amna is not alone.

Since the project’s launching in 2019 with USAID support, CARE has rehabilitated 18 water and eight sewage systems across five districts under Taiz, one of the 14 governorates where CARE works. And so now over 135,000 people are benefitting from this project.

For decades, the region has faced a dwindling water supply, and challenges from the area’s remarkably diverse geography — with a hot, humid, and arid climate on one side and heavy rainfall and extreme cold on the other — as well as the ongoing conflict in the country.

Before the project began, the Taiz sewage system would often overflow. The water supply was scarce, and many of the water pumps did not function. Women had to walk for hours to fetch water, defying the harsh and treacherous hilly terrain. Many children were forced to drop out of school to help their families collect water for drinking and household chores.

“I walked 2 kilometers every day to fill a 20-liter jerrycan and managed everything with that. I had to feed our cow as well. Many women often spent all day just to fill a few jerrycans and bring them home.” says Amna.

Things started to change when the local government authority approached CARE for support in 2019.

CARE supplied and installed a solar water pump in Al Ashroh village where all 4,150 residents now get water to their homes daily. Photo: CARE Yemen

Solar pumps

The story of the neighboring Al Krab village is slightly different. The only available water came from an open, shallow well. It wasn’t safe, and the water wasn’t clean either.

“To fill one jerrycan, we had to throw a bucket into the well three times. It was a tedious task. Children often fell into the well. Later, CARE helped restore the well, installed solar pumping system, and constructed water distribution points. The difference is huge. We can now drink clean water,” shares Aida Mohammed, one of the residents from the village.

Muatasim Ali, CARE’s Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) Field Officer, adds, “we installed solar pumps, distribution points with taps, an animal drinking basin, and a 2.5 kilowatt solar panel. All 1,200 people in the village can now get clean water.”

In the past, it was the school-aged children or younger women only. But now, little children and older women can also collect water. Photo: CARE Yemen

Unlike Al Ashorah and Al Krab, the challenges faced by the residents of the Sina Area under the Al Mudhafer district in Taiz City had a different problem.

The sewage was open between houses, not in pits, and the residents suffered from contagious, water-borne diseases, including cholera and typhoid.

“We, especially the children, often had fevers, diarrhea, and vomiting. Mosquitoes, flies, and bad odors were common. The sewage water would overflow onto the streets.

“Now, the situation is different,” says Howreah Saeed, a Taiz City resident.”We can open our windows, and children can go outside and play. I also don’t feel embarrassed these days when family members visit us from other areas.”

With CARE’s sewer rehabilitation project, it was possible to prevent numerous health-related and psychological challenges. Photo: CARE Yemen

In Taiz’s Al Mudhafer district, CARE built and repaired the sewage system, implemented a new sewage network, and constructed concrete manholes.

Over the past year, the water and sanitation program has been able to reach 836,578 people, but the needs are even greater still.

According to the Humanitarian Needs Overview for 2023, 15.4 million Yemenis still do not have proper access to water, sanitation, and hygiene; Over half of this population includes children.

“We have been able to cover only five out of 23 districts in Taiz,” says Salah Hamwi, CARE Yemen’s Assistant Country Director – Program. “We ask the international community to come forward and invest sustainably in Yemen so that we can provide communities with resilient WASH response and other activities that are durable. People in Yemen need your support.”

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