Rainwater Harvesting & Sanitation Project Brings Relief in the Somali Region
Since 1997 there has been an unusual lack of rainfall in the Horn of Africa, causing drought, crop failure, death of range animals and the loss of rangelands for grazing. In the Gashaamo District of Somali National State, an area chronically vulnerable to water scarcity for both animals and people, water resources in the area are limited and valuable.
The IRC entered the Somali Region in April 2000, working to reduce the negative health and economic effects of severe drought and future droughts on the resident population, animals and migrating pastoralists. In the heart of the Ogaden desert, water glistens in a newly constructed haffir dam, one of three that will help contribute to long-term water supply solutions for nearly 60,000 indigenous and migrating people. The program also distributed 10,000 jerry-cans to the drought affected.
Collaborating with local implementing partner Hope for the Horn (HFH), IRC has completed the construction of three haffir dams, or large open reservoirs. Additionally, three berkas, or small open ponds, have been constructed. Berkas capture rainwater through a natural basin that leads to a sedimentation chamber and into the main reservoir. Water can then be drawn by a rope and bucket. Both haffir dams and berkas require little maintenance, have long operational lives, and are culturally acceptable as a means to collect, store and retrieve water for both domestic and animal purposes.