The UN Migration Agency, IOM, announced Wednesday the inauguration of a large-scale solar-powered water project in Yemen, which it said is helping deliver approximately one million liters of water daily to 55,000 people in a conflict-ridden country facing chronic water shortages.
The project was handed over to the Yemeni government at an official ceremony on Tuesday, a press release said.
Power generated by the 940 solar panels installed on three schools in Amanat Al Asimah and Sana'a governorates began pumping water to residents of the neighborhoods of Shu'aub, Al Madinah Al Syahya, and Sho'ob two weeks ago, according to the statement.
"IOM’s solar power water project in Yemen, where 90 percent of the population lacks access to sufficient water, aims to provide conflict-affected communities with alternative methods of accessing clean water," the agency said.
Impoverished Yemen has been wracked by conflict since 2014, when the Houthis overran much of the country, including capital Sana'a.
"The project provides essential water supply in places where supply and prices of fuel and other basic commodities are greatly affected by the ongoing conflict and are erratic at best," it said.
IOM noted that many people were forced to use unsafe sources of water, which it said was a clear contributor to the recent cholera outbreak in the country.
Supported by the U.S Office for Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) and the German government, the environmentally-friendly initiative will help save an estimated 150,000 liters of diesel and 500 tons of carbon emissions annually, according to the statement.
IOM plans to expand the project throughout Yemen to contribute to the sustainable solarization in the country.
The conflict in Yemen escalated in 2015 when Saudi Arabia and its Sunni-Arab allies launched a wide-ranging campaign aimed at shoring up Yemen’s pro-Saudi government.
Riyadh accuses the Shia Houthis of serving as proxies for Shia Iran, Saudi Arabia’s arch-foe in the region.
By Hale Turkes