South24 Center

Press conference warns of repercussions of water crisis in Al-Dhalea Governorate


Sun, 28-04-2024 08:21 PM, Aden

Aden (South24)

A press conference organized by South24 Center for News and Studies, held today in the capital city of Aden, warned of the serious consequences of the water crisis in South Yemen's governorate of Al-Dhalea and its extended impact on women and girls, especially in the districts of Al-Hussein and Al-Azariq.

The conference addressed the humanitarian tragedy resulting from the water crisis in Al-Dhalea governorate, and announced the findings of a study conducted by the center since the start of this year as part of a project funded by the American organization Urgent Action Fund.

The press conference (South24 Center)

A documentary film was presented during the conference in the presence of the Minister of Water in the internationally recognized Yemeni government, the head of the Foreign Department of the Southern Transitional Council (STC), representatives of international and local organizations, women activists, academics, and journalists.

The documentary, titled "Struggling for a Drop”, included interviews with women, girls, men, and children in the districts of Al-Azariq and Al-Hussein, as well as local authorities in Al-Dhalea governorate and ministers from the Yemeni government in Aden.

The press conference (South24 Center)

The film depicted children, particularly girls, suffering from bone deformities, fractures, and tooth decay due to drinking contaminated water containing high levels of fluoride in the Al-Hussein district. It also highlighted the residents’ demand for clean water and the need to address the escalating crisis.

In a speech on behalf of South24 Center, the regional office director of the center in Aden, Jacob Al-Sufyani, criticized the responsible entities’ disregard of South24’s requests to conduct interviews regarding this humanitarian crisis - especially the Yemeni Ministry of Health – despite the serious health implications posed by it.

Yasmin Hameed, the head of the STC’s Women and Child Department, spoke about the various sufferings of women and girls specifically related to the water crisis in Al-Dhalea. She stated that they are the most affected group in terms of physical, health, psychological, and social aspects.

Hameed underlined cases of deaths among women and girls caused by falling into wells or down slopes while searching for water. She also highlighted how the water crisis in Al-Dhalea has led to thousands of girls dropping out of school and entering early marriages.

The press conference (South24 Center)

Dr. Mohammed Abdullah, the Director of Health in Al-Hussein district, Al-Dhalea, explained that groundwater contaminated with high levels of fluoride, several times higher than the standard ratio, has caused hundreds of cases of complete or partial fractures and bone deformities in the district.

He further pointed out that a 2017 field survey covering 20 villages in the Al-Hussein district recorded 301 cases of fractures, and 1027 cases of bone deformities, tooth decay, and varying degrees of osteoporosis, with the majority of those affected being women and girls.

In South24 Center’s final press statement, a warning was issued that the water crisis in Al-Dhalea is a "comprehensive humanitarian tragedy that threatens to deepen local armed conflicts over water resources in the near future."

Cases of dental deformities in Al-Hussein District in January 2024 (South24 Center)

The statement also warned of “the increased human cost borne by women and girls, including deprivation of education, early marriage, and the social and familial problems closely associated with this crisis”'

It further added, “South24 Center calls on the internationally recognized Yemeni government, United Nations organizations, and their local partners in Yemen to urgently intervene and address the water crisis in Al-Dhalea governorate at all levels, and to protect the population, especially women and girls, from the severe repercussions of this crisis”.

The press conference (South24 Center)

The statement recommended that the international community and donor agencies allocate funds for qualitative studies on the water crisis, with a focus on its impact on women, and exert pressure on the government to involve women in decision-making related to water management.

The statement included recommendations for civil society organizations to allocate a portion of their programs to the water crisis and raise awareness about access to safe water and sanitation.

It stated, "we call for the adoption of proposed solutions in the study issued by South24 Center, such as traditional rainwater harvesting systems like cisterns, open and closed basins, and furrow irrigation. As well as non-traditional rainwater harvesting techniques."


The statement suggested some unconventional techniques for harvesting rainwater, such as fog water collection, condensation, and the dissemination of experiments conducted in other governorates.

The 68-page study conducted by the center, which will soon be translated and published in English, includes various sustainable and environmentally friendly solutions to the water crisis in Al-Dhalea governorate, along with a comprehensive explanation of the details of the crisis.

South24 Center

Water crisisSouth YemenAl-DhaleaInternational communityAidHumanitarianWaterAl-AzariqAl-HusseinWomenGirlsBone deformityPress conferenceUrgent Action Fund