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Central Somali clans put conflict behind to jointly repair village’s only water well

Saturday January 22, 2022

Pastoralists in Kaalmoole in central Somalia’s Mudug region have put their long-held differences aside to jointly rebuild the village’s only well so that everyone can receive free water during this time of harsh drought.

One of the clans that was forced out of the village in a conflict between them 30 years ago returned in early December after rainfall greened the grazing land in this part of Jarriban district.

A committee of elders was formed from both clans, which requested a local borehole drilling company Wadaagsin to help them excavate and restore the only well in the village without charge.

The chairman of the committee of elders, Abdi Said Ali, said they focused on correcting past mistakes and providing people with access to safe drinking water.  The locals from both clans paid small fees for the shaping and lining of the well opening. The two clans also contributed and slaughtered animals to feed the Wadaagsin workers whilst they were on site.

“We took it on ourselves to work towards peace, since without peace there is no life. We brought the people together and raised peace awareness in the community. We asked the people to co-exist peacefully and avoid conflict and as of now there have been no problems,” Abdi Said Ali said.

The well, which is the only one in the area, was reopened on 25 December.

The water level in the well is high and there appears to be no concern about running short of water. More than 200 families in the village are now fetching water daily from the well free of charge, including Barre Abdi Said, a father of three children, who fled from the rural area of Wardheer zone in neighbouring Ethiopia’s Somali Region.

Before the well was restored, he had sold nine goats in the village in only 25 days to buy water for his family and 91 goats. Water was being brought in by commercial tankers from the nearest alternative well, which is 80 kilometres away.  A 200-litre barrel of water was being sold in Kaalmoole for the equivalent of between six and seven dollars.

Barre is glad that water is now freely available, relieving him of one worry for his livestock and family. However, he is concerned that the pasture is getting depleted with the influx of drought-affected people from other areas.

“The pastoralists have followed the rain that was received here. People have come from the four sides of the village. The grazing fields have been cleared now and there is not much pasture left,” he said.

Barre transported his livestock in a truck that he rented for $200 that he raised by selling 10 goats. He came to Kaalmoole village to save his remaining herd, having already lost 50 goats to the current ongoing drought.

“I fled my village which received neither the Gu’ nor Deyr rains. The livestock had no pasture and they depended on animal feed. There were also livestock diseases in the village. I left at three o’clock in the morning and reached here the following night,” he said.

More than 2,000 pastoralist families fleeing drought in Galgadud, Mudug and Nugal regions of Somalia, as well as Ethiopia’s Somali Region, have come to this village in search of water and pasture.

Abdi Khalif Hashi, a pastoralist father of eight children, came from the rural area of Harfo village in Galkayo.  Neighbours had been giving him drinking water as he could not sell any of his weak animals to raise cash to buy water.

He is glad to get free water, which he never thought would be possible at this time of severe drought. He lost 40 of his 100 goats to lack of water and pasture last November.


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