25 October 2017, Baidoa. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is partnering with the UN Migration Agency (IOM) and the Government of Somalia, to provide greater access to sustainable clean water for over 45,000 drought-affected internally displaced persons (IDPs) and host communities in Baidoa, in the South West State of Somalia. The project is part of ongoing Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) activities and drought response work being carried out by IOM and UNDP in the area.
Somalia’s 2017 Gu (April–June) rainy season was significantly below average, creating severe drought across all regions. Baidoa town has been one of the areas most badly affected by drought and the town currently holds one of the highest numbers of Internally Displaced People (IDPs) in Somalia, with over 243,000 people having migrated to the area since November 2016, according to data released as of September 2017, from the Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) Cluster and IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM). Absorption capacities in Baidoa have already been severely overstretched, hugely increasing the demand for life-saving services and leading to the deterioration of living conditions in the IDP settlements and host communities.
In line with the Federal Government’s priorities, the Somali National Development Plan and the WASH cluster’s objectives, the aim of this joint IOM-UNDP project is to provide sustainable water supply services to displaced and disaster-vulnerable women, girls, boys and men in IDP settlements and host communities in Baidoa town. With support from UNDP, IOM, in close collaboration with the Ministry of Water and Energy in South West State have identified 11 strategic boreholes that will be rehabilitated to provide access to safe and clean water to areas affected by drought and AWD/cholera in Baidoa. The project activities also include construction of water tanks and delivery of water via trucks.
Speaking at the launch of the initiative, H.E Aden Hassan Mohamed, Minister of Water and Mineral Resources in South West State, said: “Providing clean water for the IDPs and host communities is one of the Ministry’s main priorities, especially as it contributes towards prevention of water borne diseases in the region. We are very excited to receive additional support from UNDP and IOM”.
Abdirahim Nor, UNDP Climate Resilience Programme Specialist, said UNDP is committed to supporting drought-affected people and poor urban communities in Baidoa town and surrounding villages and building resilience to climatic induced droughts in Somalia, by increasing their access to clean water.
“Such droughts not only trigger a humanitarian catastrophe but are a major impediment to development in Somalia. The losses are enormous in the form of lives and livelihoods. UNDP is providing support to Baidoa through IOM to ensure we are able to provide access to reliable sources of water for IDPs and vulnerable communities,” he said.
Omar Khayre, IOM WASH Programme Manager, explains the complexity of the activities. ‘’Access to water is a major challenge not only for the displaced persons but also for the whole community living in Baidoa and surrounding areas. As the population in the Baidoa have almost increased by 40 to 50 per cent, current water supply cannot meet the needs. The project will contribute towards covering the critical immediate needs as well as train officials on how to maintain, repair and manage water sources”.
The project will complement ongoing IOM WASH, food security, shelter, health and Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) projects in Baidoa, and ongoing UNDP drought response work in the area and across Somalia, which are implemented in close coordination with the Government. IOM is implementing WASH projects in 6 regions across Somalia. From January to September 2017, IOM has provided an emergency supply of over 180 million litres of clean and safe water to 568,749 beneficiaries across its target regions through a water voucher mechanism. An estimated 385,958 people have been provided with sustainable access to water through operational and maintenance support of 46 permanent water sources, including strategic boreholes and shallow wells. Additionally, IOM is conducting hygiene promotion among at‐risk communities, having reached an estimated 563,777 people with behavioural change messages between January and September 2017. UNDP has reached 250,000 people with water and drought infrastructure projects across Somalia in 2017.