Story highlights

More than 150 are hospitalized after drinking tainted water from a newly constructed well

A mother of four says her 8-year-old child is among at least 50 dead after drinking the water

Access to quality drinking water is a big problem in Somalia and other parts of Africa

Mogadishu, Somalia CNN  — 

At least 50 people have died in Somalia after drinking contaminated water from a well in northern Mogadishu, an official in that East African country said Thursday.

Osman Mohamed, the deputy commissioner for Somalia’s Yaqshid district, told CNN about the deaths among those who drank from the newly constructed well. More than 150 people who had water from that well were recently hospitalized.

Hawo Abdi, a mother of four, told CNN that her 8-year-old child is among those who died after drinking the contaminated water.

While access to drinkable water has improved in recent years, it still remains a major and sometimes deadly problem in some places.

That’s especially true in parts of Africa, and even more so in Somalia, which has some of the lowest rates of water coverage in the world.

The United Nations reports that 115 people die every hour in Africa from diseases linked to inferior sanitation, poor hygiene and contaminated water.

Of course, available quality drinking water is just one of several pressing issues in Somalia. The country is also dealing with persistent violence, much of it linked to the militant group Al-Shabaab.

It was not immediately clear how the water that led to the recent deaths got contaminated, including whether anyone or any group might be responsible.

Journalist Omar Nor reported from Mogadishu, and CNN’s Greg Botelho reported and wrote from Atlanta.