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Water prices skyrocket for Bari villagers in Qandala as well pump breaks down

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Kaydka Ergo

(ERGO) – Over 40 villages in the grazing lands of northeastern Somalia’s Bari region of Puntland are facing severe water shortage as the pump at the only well serving the area in El-Gaal village has broken down.

A barrel of water has shot up from $0.5 to $13, according to Ahmed Hassan, manager of the well.

“The price of a small barrel now costs more than a whole water truck, which used to be $12.5,” Ahmed noted.

The residents are unable to raise the $7,000 estimated to repair the water pump

Trucks bringing water from Taageer district, 120 km from El-Gaal, take two days to reach the villages due to the poor roads.

Ahmed Hassan said this time last year, the well was serving around 150 pastoralists’ needs as well as supplying trucks to the surrounding area.

This well has been the mainstay of local pastoralists particularly because recent rainfall has been poor.

Mohamud Osman, a herder in Qori-Guban valley near Qandala, told Radio Ergo he is forced to buy water on credit. He fears losing the 100 goats he has left from his original herd of 300.  The goats are too weak to walk far to get water. He needs 20 barrels of water a month to keep his family of 10 and the goats alive. At the current prices, that gives him a bill of $260.

Ahmed Abdi, 80, in Eeri district 50 km east of Qandala, said the water he needs is costing him $500 on credit.

He told Radio Ergo he is worried his remaining livestock might die. “We used to be able to get water in exchange for some of our animals, but the livestock are too weak to be sold any more,” he said.

The commissioner of Qandala, Jama Mohamed Khurshe, said they do not have the capacity to help the people and had asked Puntland administration and aid organizations to assist with water deliveries.

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