A team from Somaliland Diaspora Agency of MFA&IC led by the Chairman carried out quick assessment on some of the most affected areas in the eastern regions including Sahil, Sanaag, Sool, Saraar, Togdheer and Daad Madheedh
The drought effect is now throughout the country and all people and parties are aware of the situation but as the Somali proverb says “War Indhaa Dhaama” which means “Seeing with your eyes is better than hearing.”
We started the assessment in the eastern Guban zones between Sahil and Sanaag and of those two regions and covered to assess, evaluate the impact and meet with the community representatives, VDCs, elders an herdsmen in over 80 settlements/villages in 15 districts of 7 regions in 10 days period. Nearly 100,000 pastoralists (Families) including villagers lived in the 80 settlements excluding the regional capitals of Erigavo, Las’anod, Odweyne, Ainabo as well as Gar-adag and El-Afweine districts according to the estimates made by the VDCs, district commissioners, informant traditional elders and other community representatives.
Specific objectives of the assessment:
As the mandate and key functions of the Diaspora Agency include giving information to the Diaspora abroad about the situation at home – both achievements, progress, opportunities and on the other hand difficulties and emergencies such as droughts an natural disasters. The assessment aimed to:-
- Assess and evaluate the impact of the drought and its effect on people, livestock and the environment and which areas are the most affected, shortages of water and food security
- Raise awareness of the Diaspora upon the problems and urge their more contribution to save people from starvation and thirst
- Assess and evaluate the extent of so far provided and distributed assistance of food, water etc to the needy people
- Assess and evaluate participation of the Diaspora in the current drought as well as their contribution to the essential community services such as education, health etc
- Strengthen the presidential declaration on droughts and the appeal for urgent humanitarian support
Summary of the Conducted Drought Assessment Report:
Lack of grass and fodder for the livestock:
The negative effect of the current drought exists in all the assessed settlements, districts and regions in terms of the lack of grazing and fodder for the livestock, dryness and emptiness in the land, forests and trees. This has affected all the regions, more severe in far eastern areas. There were slight rains in certain places of the far southern parts of Togdheer and north of Sanaag such as Odanle and Laas-domaarre respectively but it has already finished as thousands of families of pastoralists and their livestock moved to them from all directions.
As the result of this, some of the able families feed some of the weakened hungry livestock with wheat and cereals despite their food insecurity but because their life only rely on these herds. They cannot use the donkeys or he-camels to fetch water if they don’t feed like this.
Scarcity of water:
99% of the water barkeds emptied in the most areas that depended on surface water harvesting sources including the most settlements of Togdheer, south and east of Sanaag, Saraar, Sool and Daad Madheedh. Availability of water is very scarce in the most areas and few inadequate water trucks bring water to them from few existing water rigs and/or the other nearest to them which may be 30km, 40km, 50km or more farther in some places. For instance, the spokesperson of Durruqsi District Drought Committee stated that they planned one drum (20-25 liters) for each family as two water trucks of 100 barrels each cannot be adequate to over thousand families in the area. Very few families – not more than 10% of the herdsmen afforded to pour water to their barkeds.
In the Guban (Coastal) areas between Saahil and Sanaag, the hand dug wells and springs that people used to consume dried and so that most of them drink sour water and none of the settlements receive permanent water trucks except Laasciidle district which the Sahil region contracted a water truck for them and it moves round the villages to give water.
The sour water caused diarrhea to the children in some places as the residents reported such as Dhuur Cillaan, Laas-domaarre, other settlements under the districts of Laasciidle, Huluul, El-Afweine, Gar-adag etc. Similarly, residents in different settlements of Togdheer, Daad, Daad Madheedh and Sool consume unclean water from finishing sources. Most of the interviewed community representatives stated the problem of water will deteriorate particularly of all those communities consuming finishing wells and/or cemented barkeds in Sool, Saraar, Togdheer and Daad Madheedh.
- Livestock species (Sheep, goats, camel, cattle, donkeys) already died of hunger and the rate of the lost heads vary as 30% to 80% – more severe in the far eastern areas from eastern Sahil to Sanaag and Sool and more percentages among the shoats (Sheep and goats). The family that had 200, 300 or 400 might have now 75%, 50% or less a number in many places.
- The rest of the livestock constitute some which cannot walk and some moving but very weakened
- The donkeys and the he-camels that were the backbone of the families – the key transports for loading possessions to move and for fetching water from long distances already included in the lost livestock at first as many many herdsmen and elders stated
- The drought-weakened livestock has neither milk, meat and or marketable for the family to sell and purchase food and cover their needs as they used to. In this case, they were all suffering from this and as they had not other means or resources to live on
- Different herdsmen stated they fry the weakened-body meat of the dying sheep or goats if they slaughter because it is not enough meat to be cooked with water to eat
- Some of the able men take water on their shoulders to browse the weakened livestock that cannot even walk to reach the water point and the able families purchase wheat and cereals to feed them at home
- Some of the herdsmen were appealing for such rations (What and cereals) if normal fodder cannot be available to save the rest of livestock from starvation
- The herdsmen or pastoralists got bewildered and confused and so moving to and from all regions and back and fort in search of grass for their livestock. People from far south of Togheer, far east and west of Sool, far east of Sahil moved to the far north coastal zones of Sanaag, others from the same directions moved to the western regions, Gabiley and Awdal. This is costing them expensive as they transporting the shoats with trailers
- Death of the wild animals such as deer, donkeys and other creatures are seen in the valleys particularly in the Guban areas and some of the residents were doubtful to get poisoned if the donkeys fall and die in the unprotected water points they use
- People reported they had seen donkeys eating donkeys
The rural communities of the most affected eastern regions relied on pastoral lifestyle and livestock production such as Sanaag, Sool, Togdheer, Saraar, Daad Madheedh, east and west of Sahil and south of Marodijeh. Over 90% of the herdsmen can sell their livestock to buy food and their needs and there is neither milk nor meat from them currently as well. In this case, there is high food insecurity and malnutrition in the most places. Some food aid were distributed to the most areas assessed but was only very small quantity between 80 sacks to 200 sacks which didn’t cover even 20% of the families and shared by the households – 4kg – 9km or one sack per 9 families. All the families have not members in the Diaspora or working members in the major cities who can help them in this difficult situation. “7 households out of 213 families have today something to cook,” said an elder at Raribul village of Laasciidle district.
In addition, the residents were complaining of or had concerns over the management of the Drought Committees – just improper planning and the process of distribution of the available support both food and water. “Please do not assign a needy man to bring something to another needy person ,” said community members in several settlements of different districts and regions. Another man said “Is it fair when both the wealthy and the poor receive equally if anything is distributed.” They called for the Regional and the National Drought Campaign Campaign Committees to
There is high level of malnutrition in all the affected areas because they people have nothing from the key resource they had traditionally depended on for living. A Health Team from Erigavo we met at Huluul district told us they had surveyed 550 children and 160 of them were of the highest level in malnutrition and more number were second to them.
Children, women and elderly people are more vulnerable to these destitute conditions in all the affected regions.
The negative impact of the people particularly the pastoralists include separation and division of each family into parts. The men took the remaining herds to far places and left the women, children and the elderly people in another place where mostly they cannot even get water with ease, some of them on mountains. Some of the community representatives, district commissioners and traditional elders volunteered to gather such neglected families including many other families who lost most of their lives and brought them together near villages to save them from starvation and thirst. In this way, over 200 families were brought to Huluul district and 350 families to Fadhigaab village – both Sanaag region.
They are in destitute condition and need shelters, blankets, water storage facilities etc, food, water, treatment, nutritious substances and all the other minimum basic needs. Also, the number of might have now increased.
The VDCs and community representatives we interviewed reported that the drought displaced families who constitute both residents and new comers driven away by the droughts from other areas joined the the most villages in the assessed districts including Xagal, Laasciidle, Huluul, Ceel-Afweyn, Gar-Adag, Yagoori, Adhicadeeye, Caynabo, Qoryaale, Odweyne, Ballidhiig, Durruqsi, Xaaji Saalax,Khaatumo and Odweyne. Specially, The Durruqsi District Commission stated that despite the newly drought-displaced families, there were also nearly 2,000 families (IDPs) who joined the district border villages fled from the recent Gaashamo incidence and so all need urgent humanitarian relief and assistance.
In many places, temporary plastic-made tanks were put as for water storage for the scattered drought affected nomads who were gathered in places and also some of individual families made the same to put water for themselves and for the vitiated livestock when they find water.
The Regional Drought Committee of Daad Maadheedh and many district commissioners in the eastern regions complained of the limited capacity to gather and help such scattered households to gather and settle in suitable places near villages or water points and so that it would be easy to know about their needs and facilitate distribution works.
Essential social services:
During the assessment, the Team was asking and observing availability of the essential social services in each village and district such as health and education facilities, water sources including communal water points, veterinary services, security etc. Most of the assessed eastern districts particularly of eastern Sahil, Sanaag, Sool and Togdheer are more disparate and deprived in terms of the above essential services when look at 24 villages under Xagal district with only one health facility, 23 villages under Huluul with only one health facility (MCH) or only three health services out of 32 settlements under Ceel-Afweyn.
All those areas without health facilities are more vulnerable than the other places and particularly the Guban (Coastal) areas between Sahil and Sanaag of the difficult road accessibility are more disadvantaged. “Our pregnant women die of bleeding during delivery after days of helplessness or on the way to Berbera if a vehicle comes,” said an elder woman at Dhuur Cillaan of Laasciidle district. Similarly, most villages under the districts of Togdheer such as Durruqsi, Ballidhiig as well as the most villages under the districts of, Sool and Daad Madheedh are of the same situation. Most of the historic border districts and/or villages including Durruqsi and Khaatumo districts capitals and Dabagoryaale which are very populated are yet more neglected in terms of the key services.
Some of the health workers in the few areas with health posts, MCHs or health centers reported there had seen more cases of severe malnutrition, diarrhea in children than before. Similarly, some of the residents in the settlements lacking health services stated the severe malnutrition, diarrhea in children and several people suffering from liver pain, anemia etc.
The Diaspora Participation in the Drought Campaign:
The aims and objectives of this quick assessment included evaluating Somaliland Diaspora contribution to the current drought campaign as well as their participation in the different social services and public infrastructural building in the target eastern districts and regions. The interviewed district commissioners, Districts Level Drought Committees, VDCs, elders and the other community members of all the entire assessed areas stated they had not received any support towards the droughts response specific to the districts from the Diaspora and all of them called the Diaspora to particularly consider their needs rather than their contribution in the national level.
Only Gar-adag District received some thing to report for the droughts issue from the Diaspora. Dhuur Cillaan, Fadhigaab and a community at Durruqsi thanked individual persons in the Diaspora who donated some food commodity distributed to hundreds of families while some communities including Raaribuul and Dabagorayaale uttered they had not more members in the Diaspora.
In addition, there is very limited or not at all as Diaspora contribution in the communal services building in the most assessed villages of the districts, Xagal, Laasciidle, Huluul, Ceel-Afweyn, Durruqsi, Xaaji Saalax, Khaatumo whereas Diaspora groups from Gar-adag, Adhicadeeye, Qoryaale, Ballidhiig, Cali Ciise and Sabawanaag particularly contributed well to the community education (Boarding schools, religions learning centers, paying teachers etc) as well as health facilities in few places and constantly assist proper functioning and running of the services in some places. This information in details and the Diaspora contribution to similar and different projects in more other districts throughout the regions will appear in other reports the Agency will produce soon.
The SLDA Team also visited some useful development projects the Somaliland government is implementing in different locations in Sanaag and Togdheer regions including the SDF-funded projects of extension construction and improving Erigavo hospital, reconstruction and extension of Dayaha boarding school, Las’anod hospital as well as two ongoing water development (Rigs projects at Ballidhiig and Durruqsi funded by the government. The SDF-funded projects in Sanaag and Sool regions exceed twenty million dollars including Maydh and His Ports Construction – all very viable and useful.
- Somaliland Diaspora Agency is restating calling all Somaliland Diaspora communities abroad to strengthen their important role and collectively contribute to the necessarily and urgently required responsive measures towards the drought-as affected communities communities
- We suggest Ministry of Health, the Regional Health Coordination Offices and the eastern Regional Authorities to consider assigning and sending health teams to the remote rural zones particularly wherever there are no functioning health services such as the Guban and coastal areas of Sahil and Sanaag regions. Capacitating of the existing health services and district commissions is as well very important in terms of medical supplies, transports, fuel etc
- Both the National and Regional Drought Campaign Committees should ensure proper planning and prioritization of needs and the available emergency aid as well as distribution and conduct follow up as far as possible
- The National Drought Committee and the concerned government institutions should think of the necessary and early preparations for settling the drought-affected rural communities in suitable locations (Camps) with water access and the possibility of supporting farming projects
Prepared by Somaliland Diaspora Agency
Ministry of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation
Hargeisa, Republic of Somaliland
5th Dec, 2016
List of the names of the assessed communities included the following areas:
- Dhuur Cillan
- Fadhi gab
- Ceel Af Weyn
- Tuulo Sama kaab
- Adhi Caddeye
- Laas Caanood
- Ceel dhaab
- Ina afmadoobe
- Ceel Bilcille
- Ceel Xume
- Shansha- cadde
- Taala- buur
- Candho -dhexe
- Cali Ciise
- Xaaji saalax
- Laan Mullaaxo
- Sabo wanaag
Some relevant video clips regarding the drought affected communities:
- Dhuur Cillan https://youtu.be/aiM4f0c7YKk
- Laas Doomaarre https://youtu.be/dyk3m4K6s8A
- Ceel Bilcille https://youtu.be/jvH4UpuHC0o
- Ceel xume https://youtu.be/bp1pzIQ63TE
- Oodweyne https://youtu.be/8Ho-xQg4QNo
- Candho dhexe https://youtu.be/rL1Bmcf3Lrk
- Daba gorayaale https://youtu.be/SazfG2jzK8I
- Dhagax dheere https://youtu.be/RyfRggGPJl4
- Duruqsi https://youtu.be/hxJxyqLr620
- Habeedley https://youtu.be/DSVkTDI8EkI
- Laan Mullaaxo https://youtu.be/7xBOLZUzbPU
- Raydab khaatumo https://youtu.be/8pYzAm4KMvo
- Shanshacadde https://youtu.be/XIWbP6tCZC8
- Sincarro https://youtu.be/aQb0E04JqcU
- Yufle https://youtu.be/0ur2uDEgeTc