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Cairo conference addresses water shortage problem in Somalia

Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and Humanitarian Forum jointly organized a conference in Egyptian capital of Cairo last week to address the problem of the water shortage in Somalia.

A total of 27 non-governmental organizations (NGO) from around the world participated in the “Water for Life in Somalia” conference. Being the only NGO which represented Turkey at the conference, IHH informed the other NGOs in the conference about its various projects to ease the water-shortage problem in Somalia including drilling water wells. 

The drinking water shortage problem  in Somalia, which was taken up at the “From Relief to Recovery in Somalia” meeting held jointly by the OIC and Humanitarian Forum in Nairobi on 26-27 September 2011, was the main subject of the conference held in Cairo on Oct.5. IHH representative İzzet Şahin shared his experience and observations inside the region with other NGO representatives at the conference.

NGO representatives recalled that Somalia is undergoing the worst drought of the past 60 years, which urged hundreds of thousands of Somalis to flee their homes and migrate to camps in neighboring countries to survive. They warned that if the necessary measures are not taken to address the water shortage problem in the country, 4 million people may lose their lives due to drought.  

President of the Zamzam Foundation, an influential organization in Somalia, Shuaib Abdullatef Sheikh who delivered a speech at the meeting said millions of animals in Somalia perished due to drought, adding that people have to walk for kilometers in search of water. He said the water shortage in the country have brought animal catering and agriculture to a standstill.

For his part, Şahin said IHH has so far drilled 344 water wells in Somalia, four of which are deep ones, noting that the foundation plans to drill 670 more water wells in near future, 30 of which will be deep wells while 340 will be shallow wells. He also said IHH has launched the project to open one-kilometer-long water channel in the region, adding that IHH has been carrying out major relief projects in Somalia for about 15 years.

At the end of the conference, it was pointed out that deep water wells, [75 to 400 meters] each to serve 10,000 people, is more useful than shallow water wells.

The conference concluded that to drill water wells in Somalia should be given priority to urgently end the fatal effects of drought before carrying out major projects such as opening of water canals, building dams or projects that will enable use of river waters. Participants of the conference pledged to open 598 water wells in the country, 270 of which will be deep water wells, mainly in central and southern  parts of Somalia.

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