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New boreholes bring relief to pastoralists in Somali Region

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File Photo/Ergo

The drilling of a new borehole in Dhiintacabka village in Ethiopia’s Somali Region has been a blessing for pastoralist Bishar Muse Idle, who has at last been able to water his remaining livestock free of charge.

Bishar lost 26 goats and 10 cows to the drought in Ararso district last September and October.  To keep the others alive, he had to walk 20 kilometres to Ararso town to buy 60 litres of water for the equivalent of one dollar from water tankers, taking six hours to bring the water back on one of his camels.

But he could not afford to buy enough for his 120 goats, 13 cows and seven camels as well as his family of six.

“Before the borehole was drilled, I used to water my goats every eight days, but now they drink water every two or three days. The cows also drink on alternate days. We are very much relieved of the water shortage now,” said Bishar, who had been contemplating moving elsewhere in search of water.

Around 600 families, most of them pastoralists, are benefiting from five boreholes drilled by the regional state’s water ministry in November in Labile, Higlaaley, Cooboole, Dhiintacabka and Bilci Buur villages in Jarar zone.

These villages depended on water reservoirs that dried up due to the failed rains.

Some of the pastoralists who had moved away with their livestock have now returned after hearing that boreholes have been drilled in their villages.

Nur Osman Galool left his small village in a rural area of Ararso district in August and walked 160 kilometres in search of water for his livestock. He lost 30 goats on the journey. In November, he returned with his remaining 10 cows and 20 goats to access the free water from the borehole.

“We needed water so much, and we are happy now.  Some people were sleeping without water for several nights. Let alone watering the livestock, even the people had no water to drink,” he said.

However, Nur is still struggling to provide for his family of six. He divides the six dollars he makes from the sale of cow milk between buying food for his family and feed for the livestock.

“We don’t pay for the water, and no one sleeps thirsty now. When you get water, you feel at peace. We don’t worry anymore, we thank God,” he said.

The deputy minister of water in Somali Region, Abdulkadir Hussein Ahmed, told Radio Ergo that they had planned to drill eight boreholes in Jarar in 2021 but managed only five.  He said Jarar was one of areas worst affected by the failed rains and residents have endured difficult times without water.

Abdulkadir stated that the ministry is planning to complete the drilling of 11 boreholes in Fafan zone and surrounding villages in the first three months of 2022.

Source: Radio Ergo

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