Somalia

Digging wells; feeding the hungry in Somalia

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In the spring of 2008, LIFE for Relief and Development launched a campaign to help fight extreme hunger and poverty in the Horn of Africa. At the time, world bodies warned that 12 million people in the region were in need of food assistance. In Somalia alone, 300,000 people were identified as needing life-saving food intervention to avoid death from starvation.

LIFE's donors were quite generous in their response to the appeal, and as a result, some very beneficial projects were implemented over the summer.

In terms of immediate relief, some 1,700 individuals in the Benadir region received emergency food assistance. This area, which includes the capital Mogadishu, has been the hub of violence in the country, forcing thousands to flee their homes, and making the delivery of humanitarian assistance very dangerous.

Regarding long-term development, LIFE commissioned the digging of seven water wells in rural areas of Somalia. Three schools and four villages in Hiraan and Lower Shabelle were selected to receive the wells, which were completed in July and are expected to serve 8,000 people and their livestock.

Lack of local access to clean water has been one of the biggest burdens upon residents of these areas, who were used to traveling long distances to retrieve a few gallons of water at a time. The impact of having local wells with mechanical pumps will be enormous.

Each well was hand-dug by area residents who were hired for the project, and sunk to a depth of anywhere between 15 and 30 meters. The wells are solidly built, and are expected to last for at least 20 years.

LIFE wishes to thank the staff and volunteers of the American Relief Agency for the Horn of Africa (ARAHA) for undertaking the implementation of these projects, which were carried out amid sometimes dangerous conditions.

As more projects related to this campaign are completed, they will be reported on LIFE's website: www.lifeusa.org.