Hargeisa, Somaliland, 18 August 2020 UN-Habitat has supplied one million litres of clean water to internally displaced people in two settlements on the outskirts of Hargeisa, Somaliland. The intervention was part of efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

At the outset, vulnerable households in Jimcaale and Ayaha IV IDP settlements who lack  bulk water storage facilities were provided with 300 litre containers. Then, over a period of two weeks in July and August, the settlements were each supplied with 500,000 litres was supplied by water tankers.

The activity was part of a European Union funded COVID-19 mitigation intervention under the Hargeisa Urban Water Supply Upgrading Project (HUWSUP) and implemented jointly with Hargeisa Water Agency.

“We are happy to partner with UN-Habitat in the provision of water to these vulnerable communities, which will ensure improved hygienic measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Somaliland, raise awareness about the pandemic among the urban poor, as well as ensure that they have water for their domestic use,” said Mohamed Daarod, Director of the Hargeisa Water Agency.

UN-Habitat also provided stocks of soap and water to the existing hand washing stations, set up in different strategic locations within the settlements. Asha Ahmed, UN-Habitat National Project Officer and Head of the Hargeisa Office, encouraged the community to use the water to promote their overall hygiene and frequently use the hand washing stations to minimize the risk of contracting COVID-19.

Water Beneficiaries
Women from the Jimcaale and Ayaha IV IDP settlement listen in during the launch of the COVID-19 mitigation intervention.
[Abdiqadir Bedel Dualle]

Speaking on behalf of the beneficiary communities, the chairpersons of the settlements, Mr. Omar Adan Araale and Mr. Yusuf Ibrahim Qaalib said the community was grateful for the continued interventions by UN-Habitat. “Provision of water was such a fundamental intervention in the face of a pandemic. We are also happy that the supply of water was timely and aligned with the Eid-al-Adha celebrations at the end of July,” said Mr. Qaalib.

In May, UN-Habitat and its partners completed work on the 23-kilometre-long main pipeline between the Ged Deeble wellfield and the Hargeisa water reservoir to Hargeisa City under HUWSUP. The next and final phase of the project will increase the amount of water available for Hargeisa from nine to 14.5 million litres per day, with the potential capacity to expand production to 24 million litres per day.

Jimcaale is a resettlement scheme with permanent housing, built in 2015 for 145 IDP families who previously lived in an informal settlement around the main Hargeisa Reservoir site. The families were resettled into a durable housing scheme, as the Hargeisa water project involved major construction works in the reservoir area, including the installation and connection of the new main pipeline for the city.