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Graham and Webb 1

Riley Graham and Landon Webb

Ms. Agar
English II Honors
15 November 2016
Tears Of Somalia Running Dry
A young girl living in Somalia wishes to go to school to learn with her brother, but the
destitute economic status of her family prohibits her from doing so. Instead she wakes up before
the sun peeks over the horizon, and loads her shoulders with buckets that when filled weigh
almost as much as her. The laborious journey takes hours, and when she returns to her village
she finds that what she collected will not even last her family until tomorrow. W.H. Auden once
said, Thousands have lived without love, not one lived without water. Water is the most simple
form of medicine, and a basic necessity that most people seem to take for granted. Poor access to
sanitary water has had its lasting impact on Somalia, a country ravaged by poverty and disease,
now trying to overcome many obstacles through an ongoing process to evade further downward
spiraling of the country.
Somalia is an African country with very few clean water supply and sanitation services.
Africa started the 21st century being the poorest, most technologically backward, and most in
debt (Obadina 14). Numerous causes lead to Somalia falling so far behind developmentally, one
of which being the broken government. After the collapse of the Somali government in 1991 the
country was left in shambles, with no one to look after the best interest of the people. The waste
and wastewater infrastructure of most African cities was developed during the colonial era and
often does not extend far beyond the original city centres (Ford). Due to the fact that there was

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no strong government to lead development, the country has neglected the problem of poor water
supply for far too long. The water infrastructure of Somalia and many other African countries is
ancient, however most politicians have ignored the issued because they will not reap any
benefits. The problem is exacerbated by the lack of investment in new reservoirs and in water
pipelines. Even in parts of relatively developed South Africa, 40% of all water piped is lost in
transmission through leaks (Ford). The problem of water scarcity is worsened by the poor water
transportation systems, and the lack of investment from politicians is slowly killing the country.
Somalia is often overlooked by politicians because it is a small country, where it is seen as too
risky of an investment. Lack of investment is butchering the nation of Somalia, where every drop
of water truly does matter. These misfortunes combined with ongoing conflict, lack of
maintenance and unpredictable rainfall patterns (UNICEF) have led Somalia to being the African
country with the least amount of clean water supply. Poor clean water supply has dramatically
affected the lives of Somalis, altering their way of life and forcing them to worry about surviving
day to day.
A combination of frequent poor hygiene, terrible sanitation practices, and use of unsafe
water is causing many Somalis to endure a living nightmare. Millions of women, children, and
men suffer day to day with little to no water. The water that they do have is rarely safe for
drinking and can lead to many water borne diseases. Because of the lack of access to clean water,
The World Health Organization says that half of Africans are affected by one if not more of the
6 most devastating water borne diseases (Ford). Due to lack of clean drinking water, Africans
are forced to use unclean water for daily necessities which is often contaminated due to the
below standard sanitation systems. When these families do have a safe and close water supply,

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they are not getting a healthy amount of water in their systems. Health authorities commonly
recommend 8-ounce glasses which equals about 2 liters, or half a gallon (Gunnars). Millions of
Africans get little to no water in a day. When they do get drinking water it is not the
recommended amount a human should drink a day, often leading to severe health problems.
Normally a visit to the doctor is a routine habit, but for Somalis this isnt an option. In Africa
there is no real healthcare facilities for their people. This pays a severe toll on the safety of the
people when diseases hit. Somalia has no real healthcare systems and no modern hospitals.
Primary-care clinics are run by or rely on international organizations such as UNICEF (Somalia
Health). The families that are drinking the unsafe water are contracting water borne diseases and
have no place to turn to for help. Water borne diseases such as diarrhea, is the major cause of
nearly one in five deaths (23 percent) of children under five and is strongly correlated with child
malnutrition (UNICEF). The water crisis in Somalia has severe and fatal health effects, leaving
Somalis no choice of the matter in the end. Either life or death.
Alongside the many health effects due to poor water supply, there are also many
educational and economic setbacks. These children are faced with a decision. Either go to school
and receive an education to build a life off of, or go fetch water to live another day. 443 million
school days are lost each year due to water-related diseases (Statistics) and About 40 billion
work hours are lost each year in Africa (Weil). When these women, children, and men are out
traveling many miles to get a buckets of water, they are missing hours or even days of education
or job opportunities to support their families. When there is not enough water, prices drastically
increase. Prices for clean drinking water have been raised to a bar that is unrealistic for most
Somali families, often resulting in them not having a sustainable supply of clean water. The

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sickness caused by dirty water saps the people's energy to do much of anything. Students who
suffer from waterborne illnesses cant stay in class. They miss out on the chance to learn and the
cycle of poverty continues (Poor). This effect is also seen on the men and women who are
lucky to get a job to support their families and just enough food and water to get by day to day. If
these people are not going to get an education or go to the jobs that they may have, then the cycle
of poverty will continue until something is done. Lack of a skilled labor force, poor land
utilization, disease, and other factors that inhibit economic growth will also stay an issue if
something is not done.
The water crisis in Somalia is an earnest issue that is sizably affecting the entire
population of Somalia due to its fatal effects. In solving such crises, internationally and in
Somalia, foundations shouldnt only focus on the shortage of water but also on the proper
sanitation of already available water sources (Abdulrab). A simple solution to the crisis would
be to show the people how to safely and efficiently sanitize already available water. This is the
smallest scale solution, it would not require much funding and would be highly effective. It is
foolish to let water go to waste in these deprived countries, when they could be adding this to
their supply. The United Nations argues that $20bn needs to be invested in African water
infrastructure every year for the next 20 years to ensure universal water supplies (Ford). A
larger scale solution is proposed by the UN, which seems far fetched due small past investments.
There is so much needed to be done in order to make real change happen, and money is the
primary factor behind whether or not this change happens. The water crisis is much bigger than
people think. Programs such as WASH, by UNICEF, are working to improve water supply,
sanitation, and hygiene in Somalia (UNICEF). WASH has been helping Somalis since 1972,

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working to slowly rise the country out of the ashes of poverty, civil war, and water scarcity.
Through programs like WASH, the world needs to lend a helping hand to Somalia to guide them
into prosperity.
Clean water should be available to all, but sadly that is far from the reality in Somalia
(Contaminated). Somalia lacks the basic necessity of clean water, degrading their quality of
life to survival instead of really living. Somalis have to worry about this basic necessity that most
of the world takes for granted. Somalis have to make sacrifices every day that truly determine
their survival. Poverty and disease have broken the country, and water scarcity contributes to the
ongoing cycle of poverty. Somalia needs help to overcome the gargantuan problem of water
scarcity, and they cannot climb this mountain alone. This problem can be gradually solved
through a combination of education, investment, and guidance from further developed countries.

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Water Supply in Somalia Outline:


A. Hook
B. Transition
C. Thesis


1st Body Paragraph: Causes

A. Poor Government

Why it matters

B. Lack of Investment

Why it matters

C. Droughts/Unpredictable Rainfall

Why it matters

2nd Body Paragraph: Effects

A. Health
1. Why it matters


3rd Body Paragraph: Effects

A. Education
1. Why it matters
B. Economy
1. Why it matters


4th Body Paragraph: Solutions

A. Change Needed

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1. Why it matters
B. Financial Investment
1. Why it matters
C. WASH Program
1. Why it matters

1. Restatement of Thesis
2. Transition
3. Conclusion

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Works Cited
Abdulrab, Mohamed. "Introductions ." Water Shortage In Somalia , 12 May 2012,
"Contaminated water a grave threat to Somalis." Oxfam International, Oxfam International, 21
Mar. 2014,
Ford, Neil. "Seeking water solutions for Africa." African Business, Jan. 2008, p. 30+. Student
23463&it=r&asid=aef6c6bcfd070b3cfcdb88ae110c09b5. Accessed 4 Nov. 2016.
Gunnars, Kris . "How Much Water Should You Drink Per Day?" Authority Nutrition ,
2012-2016, authoritynutrition.com/how-much-water-should-you-drink-per-day/.
Obadina, Tunde. Poverty and Economic Issues. Philadelphia, Mason Crest, 2014.
"Poor health leads to poor productivity." The water project , The Water Project , 2016,
"Somalia: Health." CultureGrams Online Edition. ProQuest, 2016. Web. 8 Nov. 2016.
"STATISTICS OF THE WATER CRISIS ." The water project , The Water Project , 2016,
UNICEF. UNICEF Somalia. UNICEF Somalia, 11 June 2003, www.unicef.org/somalia/.

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Weil, Sydney. "How Does Water Use in the United States Compare to That in Africa?" African
Wildlife Foundation , 8 Mar. 2013,