Newly built dam will bring clean water to 5,000 people in southern Puntland

11 October 2018, Puntland.   A new 5,000 cubic metre earth dam near Yombays Village in the Nugaal area of Puntland, Northern Somalia, will bring clean, safe water to over 5,000 people in the area, of which over 4,000 people are from nomadic pastoralist communities. The dam was built by the Puntland Ministry of Environment and Climate Change in collaboration with Yombays Village, with the support of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and with funding from Global Environment Facility.

Recurrent drought has devastated communities across Puntland, with a prolonged drought from 2016 to 2017 destroying livestock populations and forcing thousands to migrate. The Yombays area has been highlighted as one of the areas most affected by drought, and existing small water structures in the area, called berkedes in Somali, are unable to store sufficient water for the surrounding pastoral and rural communities.

The earth dam, so called because they are built using earth materials and local clay to improve sustainability and stability, was handed over to the Yombays community in early October for their management.

Speaking at the handover of the facility, the Minister of Environment & Climate Change, Hon. Saleban Haji Abdulle, said the earth dam was a cost-effective way to store water and manage environmental resources.  “Because of climate change, drought is recurring at a faster rate and with more severity than before.  Land degradation and desertification are a result of human consumption, we are not using the environment in a sustainable way. Therefore, we need to use techniques such as this one to protect and conserve the environment and prepare a better future for the coming generations,” he said.

Mr Sayed Sahibzada, Head of UNDP Area Office for Puntland, congratulated the Ministry and Yombays village committee for their success in completing the dam.  “The dam is one of a series of water management structures that have been built by the Puntland Government and communities with the support of UNDP. UNDP is committied to continue to work with government partners and Somali people to build resilience to drought through projects such as these,” he said.  

The UNDP Climate Change Resilience programme has supported the construction and repair of 5 earth and 3 sand dams and repaired over 30 berkedes in Puntland in 2017 and 2018, with funding from the Global Environment Facility (GEF). UNDP continues to work with vulnerable communities across Puntland to improve access to water, address deforestation and desertification, and build long term resilience to climate change.


Sayed Sahibzada, Head of United Nations Development Programm (UNDP) Area Office for Puntland. Email:

Abdul Qadir, Climate Change and Resilience Portfolio Manager, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Somalia. Email:

Keelin FitzGerald, Communications Specialist, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Somalia. Email:

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