Thanks to the “Aziende Industriali di Lugano” (AIL), we can bring water to Ethiopia

Ph. Credits: Archivio COOPI


Three water wells for 1,500 people in the Afar region, in Ethiopia

El Niño is known as a phenomenon where currents of hot air, blowing from the eastern parts of the Pacific Ocean, generate atmospheric warming. This occurrence generates high levels of drought annually on a global scale, especially within the tropical belt of the planet.

Africa was affected by this phenomenon with particular intensity in the years 2014 and 2015 and the effects of El Niño led to a serious humanitarian crisis in whole areas of Eastern and Southern Africa in late 2015 and early 2016.

In Ethiopia, the combination of periodic droughts and off-season flooding, which are direct results of El Niño, is causing a devastating impact on the lives of over 10 million people. While an improvement of the situation in mid-2016 loosened the grip of the crisis, the forecast for the near future indicates a slow retreat from this emergency.

Compared to the normal seasonality of crops, two years of adverse weather conditions and cyclical crises have undermined food safety in Ethiopia and have been defined as causing “the biggest drought in 30 years.”

The consequences of this situation are reflected in the high levels of malnutrition of 2.5 million people, of which more than 450,000 are in a state of “severe” malnutrition; 5.6 million farmers are in need due to the difficulties of growing crops; 5.8 million people have difficulties of accessing water.

The Erebti area, located in Zone 2 of the Afar region, in north-eastern Ethiopia is one of the poorest and most remote areas of the country. In 2016, about 440,000 people were in need of emergency assistance, due to poor harvests, the partial or complete loss of livestock (due to the lack of food) and the extremely limited access of drinking water for people and livestock. Another problem of utmost importance regards people’s health conditions, especially of those who are part of the most vulnerable social groups, such as women and minors, due to sanitation problems caused by the reduced access of uncontaminated drinking water.

With the help of AIL, COOPI Suisse is initiating an intervention that will benefit 1,500 people in the Erebti area. Three wells are to be repaired, which will bring clean water to households, recovering the past water shortages and allowing livestock to survive. Like this, the people that have been affected by this crisis for the past two years will be able to access drinking water easily, consequently reducing many health problems.

The maintenance and reparation of these three wells sets the basic conditions for the supply of drinking water. These wells will benefit 1,500 people directly and possibly another 7,500 people of the surrounding areas.

The planned activities consist of repairing three existing wells (“Shallow Wells”), equipped with hand pumps, and the following:

  • cleaning of the well
  • the installation of a new pump type India Mark II – standard hand pump, the most common hand pump in the world
  • the construction of the pit cover on the soil surface.


Please click here for the technical details of the project.

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