Two billion people worldwide do not have access to clean water. The reasons for this are population growth, pollution from industry and agriculture – and increasingly so climate change. A United Nations conference is currently dealing with the dwindling resource of water. UN Secretary-General Guterres warns that “vampiric overconsumption and climate change” will deprive humanity of “the elixir of life”.
It’s particularly bad drought in East Africa. A region where more than 33 million people do not have enough to drink, where up to 90 percent of the wells in the countryside have dried up completely and the price of drinking water has skyrocketed. The dramatic effects of climate change can also be seen in Somaliland on the Horn of Africa. The semi-nomad and shepherd Xirsi Jaamac Mire, for example, complains that 200 of his 450 goats, sheep and camels died of thirst last year.
In the past, the region had a devastating drought about “every seven years, with one or two rainy seasons missing,” says Thomas Huerz, regional manager of the World hunger Help in Somaliland. But it is “really new” that there are areas where “ten rainy seasons have already failed”. As a result, livestock die, the livelihood of up to 70 percent of the people in Somaliland.
In fact, nomadic management is “a very clever way of using natural spaces”. But now you have to feed them – but “that goes completely against the nomadic culture”. Huerz says: “We have families that use half of their income for WaterIn the meantime, people in Somaliland pay “three times as much as in Germany” for fresh water. In view of the income situation in the Horn of Africa, this is “unaffordable for the vast majority”.
The national task number one is to “prevent the water runoff”. It is estimated that around 90 percent of all precipitation runs off the surface. And then, of course, the animals lack that. That’s why most of Welthungerhilfe’s funds in Somaliland go to “water retention using very different methods,” says Huerz.
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