man draws water from a large well in north-eastern Ethiopia. © Siegfried Modola/IRIN
The mortality rate of livestock has risen dramatically due to the drought. © Jaspreet Kindra/IRIN

2011 Horn of Africa drought – Drinking water for people in Ethiopia

International aid has made little progress and the people still suffer from lack of water due to an ongoing drought. We are supporting a water project in Erebti, Ethiopia, where the situation is particularly precarious.

For months now, people in the Horn of Africa have been suffering from the worst drought for 60 years. Crops have been destroyed, livestock cannot find food and food prices are continually rising. More than 12 million people in Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and Djibouti are threatened by famine, with many starving in refugee camps. A central problem in the crisis region is lack of access to clean water.
Our relief operations in recent years have shown that sustained success can be achieved if the right partners are chosen. For this reason, in 2011 we have again decided to support an arche noVa project in the Horn of Africa as part of our "Aktion Deutschland Hilft" (German relief coalition) partner alliance. The situation is particularly precarious in the Erebti District in north-eastern Ethiopia. The region has been suffering from drought for years. Worse still, the few existing water sources have been heavily polluted by the eruption of three volcanoes. In the entire district, there are now only two usable wells. In the short term, the population can be supplied by lorries, but in the long term better solutions must be found and the self-governing abilities of the communities strengthened. Arche noVa wants to do this with our support in four partial steps:

  • Rehabilitation of three wells which are not currently usable and the provision of hand pumps (access to water for around 4,500 people)
  • Construction of a stormwater retention dam (providing water for around 1,000 people)
  • Establishment of a Water Committee for the maintenance and upkeep of the installations
  •  Accompanying health and hygiene education.

Simply providing water is not enough. In Erebti too, people's education and personal responsibility play an important part. Only with a comprehensive approach can a lasting effect be achieved.
25 November 2011