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Safe Water Makes a Lifesaving Difference to Families in Ethiopia

  • February 27, 2012

In Ethiopia, where water is dangerously scarce, water found in the local pond may be contaminated.  Parents often have little choice but to bring it home for their thirsty children to drink who need it to survive. This potentially deadly situation is all-too-common for families in Borena, an impoverished region in southern Ethiopia, where hundreds of thousands of people suffer as a result of water shortages caused by catastrophic drought. Drinking untreated water increases the risk for diarrheal disease that can be deadly — especially for children and adults with immune systems weakened by malnutrition.“Now, after using the treated water my whole family is healthy.” —Dima DabasoTo help thousands of families affected by the Horn of Africa drought and famine, AmeriCares donated more than three million sachets of PUR water purification tablets for camps and communities in Kenya and Ethiopia.  At the height of the emergency, one million of the sachets were delivered to our partner in the region, Oxfam and their local partners to be used in a program aimed at providing thousands of Ethiopian families with clean, treated water for three months.Oxfam and its local partners carefully selected the most vulnerable families from severely impoverished communities to receive the purification sachets and other hygiene items, along with crucial health education. During the distribution, men, women and children received hands-on training on how to properly use the sachets, and learned about the importance of treating water and effective methods to reduce the risk of infection and diarrheal disease.“It is good to drink clean water.  Treating it has improved our lives. Previously, we had diarrhea, vomiting and disease, but now after using the treated water, my whole family is healthy,” said Dima Dabaso. “The only challenge now is drought, with the limited water in the pond.”

Dima Dabaso

Photo courtesy of OxfamDima DabasoOxfam reported that once the importance of drinking treated water was instilled in the community, the interest in using the treatment sachets increased, and the incidence of diarrheal disease has been noticeably reduced.“We are happy that we have the knowledge and our problems are being solved,” said Darmi Galgalo. “Particularly I am happy with the way the selection was done by the community leaders who sought to help the poorest of the poor.”Ongoing Famine ReliefSince famine was declared in parts of Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia in summer, 2011, AmeriCares has delivered more than $2 million in aid to these East African nations, including nutritional supplements, water purification tablets, and urgently needed medicines and medical supplies. Our efforts to reduce human suffering in this stricken region of the world will continue as long as needed.Read MoreDonate Now