Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Sudan Tribune

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About a third of Eritreans have access to drinking water: government

ASMARA, March 22 (AFP) — Around a third of Eritrea’s 3.5 million people have access to drinking water, the country’s water ministry said on Tuesday, adding that lack of sufficient resources had stymied government efforts to boost the figure.

Mebrahtu Iyassu, the head of the water department at the ministry, said that 20 percent of the rural population and 50 percent of the urban population had access to water.

Therefore, “only 30 percent of the population has access to drinking water,” he told AFP on the United Nations World Water Day on Tuesday.

In 1991, when the poverty-stricken Horn of Africa country got its independence from Ethiopia, only seven percent of the 100,000 people living in rural areas had access to water, he said.

Mebrahtu said that a lack of resources had stymied the government’s goal of delivering water for a larger number of people, as well as for irrigation in the mostly dry Horn of Africa country.

“To meet this big challenge, we lack financial resources and skilled manpower,” he said.

“We are really suffering from drought, especially in the last two years. Ground water is our main source in Eritrea. But in some areas this water decreases by one metre every year,” Mebrahtu added.

River Setit in the southwestern region is the only all-season stream in Eritrea.

Official figures indicate that diarrhoea, whose victims generally die from dehydration, accounts for 22 percent of all deaths in under-five-year olds in Eritrea.