‘We are the living dead’: Drought-hit Tunisian villages battle isolation | Climate Crisis


Tunisian villager Ounissa Mazhoud ties two empty jerry cans to a donkey and cautiously descends a stony hill in the direction of the final native supply of water.

The North African nation, in its fourth 12 months of drought, is grappling with its worst water shortage in years.

Mazhoud – like different ladies within the distant village of Ouled Omar, 180km (110 miles) southwest of the capital, Tunis – wakes up each morning with one factor on her thoughts: discovering water.

“We’re the residing useless … forgotten by everybody,” mentioned Mazhoud, 57, whose area was as soon as one among Tunisia’s most fertile, recognized for its wheat fields and Aleppo pines.

“We now have no roads, no water, no support, no respectable housing, and we personal nothing,” she mentioned, including that the closest supply of water is a river about an hour’s arduous stroll away.

Offering water for his or her households, she mentioned, signifies that “our backs, heads and knees harm, as a result of we labour from daybreak to nightfall”.

Some villagers have felt pushed to maneuver to city areas or overseas.

Ounissa’s cousin, Djamila Mazhoud, 60, mentioned her son and two daughters had all left in quest of higher lives.

“We educated our youngsters in order that once we develop outdated, they handle us, however they couldn’t,” she mentioned.

“Persons are both unemployed or eaten by the fish within the sea,” she added, utilizing a standard phrase for migrants who try the harmful sea voyages for Europe.

Total households have already left the village, mentioned Djamila.

“Their homes stay empty,” she mentioned, explaining that aged individuals really feel they don’t have any selection however to observe their little kids.

“Can an 80-year-old go to the river to get water?”



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