January 30, 2014 (KHARTOUM) - The US Agency for International Development (USAID) has launched a project aimed at improving access to water for an estimated 70,000 people in Sudan’s conflict-affected Darfur region.
- Hundreds of thousands of people have fled violence to safe areas inside Sudan’s Darfur region, severely straining water resources in some locations (Photo: ACT/Caritas/NCA/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah)
Launched on Sunday, the Tawila dam rehabilitation project will also reduce the risks of flooding and drought, as well as support the livelihoods of local communities in North Darfur state’s Tawila locality.
Once rehabilitated, the dam, which has not been functional for several years, will recharge ground water, helping improve access to drinking water for people in the Tawila community, many of whom have been displaced from their homes by fighting in the region.
The project will be implemented by USAID in collaboration with the UN Office for Project Services (UNOPS) and the North Darfur state government.
“It will improve local economic conditions by increasing the supply of water for agriculture, animal husbandry and other livelihood activities, such as brick-making”, USAID Sudan said in a statement extended to Sudan Tribune on Sunday.
According to USAID, the rehabilitated dam will also support drought preparedness and reduce flooding during the rainy season, thereby increasing the resilience of the Tawila community to natural calamities.
Hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced by the conflict in Darfur, with mass relocations to safe areas severely stressing the limited water resources in certain locations.
Many internally displaced people have little choice but to collect water from roadsides and other unsafe sources, leading to an increase in diseases, particularly among children and the elderly.
The Tawila dam, located 70km west of the capital, El Fasher, was built in 1954 and served the locality for more than 45 years.
In 2000, a section of embankment was breached after the reservoir accumulated large amounts of silt and Tawila Dam ceased to function
The collapse of the dam forced many Tawila residents to leave the area.
USAID said that those that remain in the area face daily challenges in finding sufficient water for their needs and maintaining their livelihoods.
The project is set to more than double the irrigation area in Tawila locality from 60
Hectares to 125 hectares, as well as significantly boost the area’s water storage capacity.
Tawila is designated as a voluntary returnee resettlement area by the North Darfur
“I anticipate the return of many community members, revitalising our region”, Tawila commissioner Adam Ahmed El Tahir said.