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Adi Quala Subzone: Land of Fertile Soil and Home to Different Historic Places

By :- Mussie Efriem

Following is an interview we conducted with Managing Director of Adi Qhala subzone, Mr. Tesfay Abraha, concerning social services in the subzone and the development activities in which the residents participate. Adi Quala subzone, 92 kilometers south of Asmara, is known for its fertile soil, and most of its residents engage in agriculture and grow cereals, legumes, and oil seeds.

Let’s start with an introduction to the subzone.

Adi Quala subzone is one of the Southern region’s 12 subzones, with 22 administrative areas and 106 villages. This subzone borders Emni Haili sub-Zone to the north, Ethiopia to the south, Mai Aini subzone to the east, and Mai Mine subzone to the west. It is home to three Eritrean ethnic groups — Saho, Tigrinya, and Tigre, and has a population of over 100,000. Eighty five percent of the population’s live on agriculture while 15% engage in trade and other occupations. Adi Quala subzone’s is ideal both humans, animals and agriculture. Its rainy season lasts from April to mid-September, with 700 mm of rain fall in a season. Out of the subzone’s total area of 860.73 square kilometers, 208.74 hectares were cultivated in the last rainy season.

The Mereb and Tsaeda Qalai rivers are prominent waterways in the district. Tourist attractions in in the area include the historical forts of Adi Begi’o, as well as monasteries where religious ceremonies are held on an annual basis. The highest point in the subzone is 2,141 meters above sea level while the lowest elevation is 1,259 meters above sea level. Grains such as sorghum, maize, wheat, barley, taff and finger millet as well as oil seeds such as peanuts, black seed, and sunflower are grown in the subzone.

What is the state of drinking water for humans and animals in the subzone?

There is scarcity of safe drinking water in the subzone. Most administrative areas of the subzone lack sufficient water sources, forcing residents to trek significant distances to get water. Adi-Abraham area, in particular, continues to suffer from lack of safe drinking water, with inhabitants having to go more than 14 kilometers to get it. There is also scarcity of clean water sources in the town of Adi Quala, as four wells supply insufficient water. When there is no more water in the wells, residents of the town have to fetch water from Sememo Dam. Residents of the subzone who live far from the dam are obliged to travel to the dam to get water for their cattle.

How would you characterize the distribution of healthcare facilities and the quality of services given to people of the subzone?

Adi Quala subzone is in a better position in terms of the spread of its healthcare facilities and the quality of services given.

We have one community hospital in Adi Quala, the sub-zone’s headquarters, and three clinics in the administrative areas of Enda Gergis, Awha, and Adi Joni. There are certain communities in the May Alba administrative area where health services are not readily available to people. To address this, locals have bulit their own health department buildings using basic medical gear from the sub-zonal hospital, and they are expected to soon receive full health services.

What about schools and the quality of their services in the subzone?

Every administrative area has a primary school, which has been done to ensure that educational services are available throughout the subzone. We have three secondary and middle schools. In some areas, of course, pupils need to walk long distances from their communities to acquire middle and high school education. Students from the Awaha area, for example, attend middle and high school in Enda gergis. Although offering educational facilities up to the secondary level within close proximity to the population of each administrative area requires additional efforts, the services given by schools is Quala subzone are getting better.

How would you describe Adi Quala subzone’s transportation and communication services?

In terms of transportation, there is a primary line that connects the capital, Asmara, to the center of Adi Quala subzone, making it easier for citizens to get to and from the line. We also have subsidiary dirt roads that connect the town of Adi Quala to practically all of the administrative areas in the subzones. Harat Public Transportation services are provided to inhabitants in the subzone on a daily basis via the main line, and also reach all administrative areas of the subzones via dirt roads. Despite the fact that improving transportation services requires ongoing effort, Adi Quala people already have access to transportation anytime they need it. In terms of communications, we do not have a serious problem because the communications network covers the entire subzone. Certainly, there is some network problems in specific border areas, but, overall, there is improved coverage in terms of communication.

Could you please also tell us about the electricity coverage?

In addition to the town of Adi Quala and its suburbs, electricity is provided to a few administrative areas via the Hargigo main line. The streets of Adi Qhala are also illuminated with solar energy lampposts. As I noted in my introduction, Enda Gergis, which is growing, has yet to obtain power services. Given that Enda Gergis is considered a land port because of its location on the Ethiopian border, and it is experiencing an increase in population and a revival of commercial activity, we have informed the relevant authorities that we intend to expedite our efforts to provide electricity services there.

What development initiatives are being carried out by the residents?

There are development activities that are carried out with the participation of residents on an ongoing basis, especially in the summer. For example, residents conduct water conservation and soil protection activities in sites exposed to erosion and in their agricultural towns. Collective efforts are made in maintaining dirt roads leading to the outskirts of Adi Quala, as well as cleaning activities to maintain the health of the environment and ensure the health of citizens, especially from malaria. There is also an afforestation activity carried out in various locations of the district with the participation of residents, the army and students, where more than 120,000 trees have been planted.

As it is the harvest season, what is the condition of the crops like?

All the administration areas of the subzone have witnessed good and early rainfall since the beginning of the fall. The total amount of rain in the rainy season amounted to approximately 684 mm. Therefore, all crops may be in good condition, as some have reached the harvest stage and others have begun to mature. In general, the rain in Adi Quala this year was good, enough for the farms to grow food and fill the dams and ponds located in various parts of the subzone.

Anything else you would like to say?

I would like to remind the relevant authorities to contribute to solving the water problem in Adi Quala subzone by constructing a safe and sustainable water distribution system. I would also like to remind farmers to quickly collect their crops that have reached the harvest stage before the winter rains come, and to help families of martyrs and families of individuals who are in need of help. And I would like to thank the Eritrean Defense Forces for their cooperation and support in the developmental campaigns of Adi Quala subzone.

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