INTRODUCTION: The worsening refugee problem in Somalia has been aggravated by acute water shortage because of a prolonged drought.
GV Car driving towards water drilling platform.
GV PAN Refugee camp next to water plant.
GV Workers preparing drill.
SV Refugee taking water from well.
SV Drilling begins. (3 SHOTS)
TV Crowd watching drilling.
SV Sludge cleared drill. (3 SHOTS)
GV Refugee camp. (3 SHOTS)
GV Women taking water from river.
SV & CU Women pouring water from river into containers. (4 SHOTS)
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Background: INTRODUCTION: The worsening refugee problem in Somalia has been aggravated by acute water shortage because of a prolonged drought. The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) estimated there will be over 1 1/2 million refugees in camps by the end of the year if the rains fail. Everyone is now waiting to see whether the seasonal rains, which began recently, will continue in the coming weeks. For the past two years the rains have begun poorly and tapered to almost nothing. To combat this urgent situation, the UNHCR is financing a six million dollar project to drill 150 wells throughout Somalia within 11 months.
SYNOPSIS: The scheme is being put into operation by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) with the help of the Somali Water Development Agency. The ambitious project got under way last weekend (29 March) at this remote refugee camp at Jallalaqsi. The refugees come from Sudan, Ethiopia and Kenya in a very poor state of health. Some of Somalia's rivers have been in flood with the present seasonal rain. The wet conditions of some camps have raised the threat of cholera. Tuberculosis and other diseases have been widespread in the overcrowded camps.
After the project has completed its target of wells for the refugee camps, the five drilling rigs will provide water facilities for the Somali population itself. This scheme is part of the United Nations Water Decade, launched by the General Assembly in December. Its aim is to provide clean water and sanitation for all developing countries by the year 1990. The UN says the decade offers one of the greatest opportunities for changing the quality of human life.
To succeeded in their Water Decade, the master planners must supply pumps, pipelines and latrines simple enough for village repairmen. And they must install the facilities to serve total developing countries' birthrates of half a million a day. The cost could exceed 30 billion dollars, most of which must be raised by the developing countries themselves.
Somalia suffers one of the world's worst refugee problems. UNICEF is helping to provide food and other necessities. Drought has persisted here since 1973 but experts say good crops could be grown by irrigation if the drilling project is successful. UNICEF hopes to provide wells and boreholes here for 600,000 people over the next three years.