Field Stories

Rescuing the drowning Turqwah out of the swamp

Rescuing the drowning Turqwah out of the swamp
After the 16-year rescue calls, the long-awaited life boat steered by the SFD relieved the Turqwah village (Al-Jarrahi, Al-Hudaidah) of the repeated drowning calamities,” describes Omar A. Faqir, Beneficiary Committee Head and of Local Council Member of the village.

“The drowning village”, as dubbed by other vicinities, became a broad dark swamp blanketing the Turkwah’s streets and houses forcing some of its population to desert their homes and live with their relatives in higher places until they manually drain the rainwater out of their houses. After they returned to their houses, their 4,000-person population had been embargoed to go out except for emergency due to the stagnant swamp.

Despite the water-draining canal adjacent to Zabid valley, the village center (150 meters away of the canal) was only 70 centimeters higher than the canal’s surface. Faqir says that during those years, two development institutions complied with our call, but they drew due to poor feasible solution to that low-surface area. “SFD started solving the problem only 8 months after the community had submitted their application to SFD's Al-Hudaidah branch office,” continues Faqir. He added, “Then, the branch studied the problem well and decided to "bury" the area surface for some centimeters, pave the open-center area with stones inclining toward the center, establish a dual underground draining tank under the center point in order to drain down all rainwater. The first tank receives the waters mixed with mud and stone that settle down in its bottom, and when the tank is filled-up, the mud-free waters at the top drain to the adjacent tank and then to a 150-long wide pipe that moves the waters to the draining canal course. Water in the village disappears completely only 10 minutes after the rains stop. In addition, the SFD has built a dual stony line defining the waters course within the village alleys, where the villagers have successfully promised not to exceed when building their walls or houses in order to ensure smooth passage of the waters down from all parts of Turqwah. Such a solution was amazingly simple but inaccessible by others.”

One of the victims of the problem decided to desert his house and build a muddy two-room house for his 10-member family in a higher place as he could not bear seeing his children, especially the young ones, affected by Malaria or cold diseases in each rain season . Ali Ahmed Ahjaf indicates that the stagnant waters' level used to rise up to 80 cm inside his house and he, along with his family, had kept draining the waters out of their house for days, and then they became incapable to go out to the market, work or school for 10 days.

Chief of Turqwah, Salem A. Ahjaf, indicates that the team of Ministry of Health visited the village to spray anti-mosquito pesticides after the project was finished. He affirmed that 80% of the village’s 370 houses directly benefited from the project.

Faqir reiterates that villagers got various benefits in terms of health, environment, education and economy. “Because Turqwa is void of any development amenity,” he comments “and due to our strong confidence in the SFD, we applied for a mechanized drinking water project which was shortly approved to be scheduled in the 2010 action plan. This has encouraged all of us to participate to dig the water well and we successfully tested its feasibility and appropriateness as a sign of our seriousness to make the SFD upcoming project a success.”

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