One of the biggest problems of the population that lives in the Northeast of Brazil is the drought that historically punishes that desertic region. This situation is harsher in the semi-arid quilombos, settlements established by escaped slaves in the 19th century. In some cases, they have never had access to clean water.

An ongoing project of the Ministry of Human Rights can change this reality, according to the undersecretary of Racial Equality (Seppir), Sandra Terena. During the Second Annual Inter-American Week for People of African Descent, promoted by the Organization of American States (OAS) in Washington, DC, Terena announced the construction of 110 tank cisterns in the quilombos and indigenous villages of the Brazilian semi-arid. They will directly serve 3757 families from the states of Bahia, Ceará, Paraíba, Pernambuco and Rio Grande do Norte, which will be included in the actions of the National Program to Support Rainwater Harvesting and other Social Technologies for Accessing Water

By doing so, the Brazilian government will grant these families access to urgently needed water. Communities that lack this fundamental human right will improve health, food and nutritional security.

In a partnership with the Ministry of Social Development, the budget of this project is about US$ 4,5 million and it is aimed to benefit low income families living in the Brazilian semi-arid region – States of Bahia, Ceará, Paraíba, Piauí, Minas Gerais and Pernambuco.

In 2014 the UN General Assembly declared that access to clean and safe water and basic sanitation are fundamental human rights. The resolution received 122 votes in favor, none against.

Report by: GNI Brazil Team