Scores of trucks have been whipping up the dust in the northern Somali town of Kalabaydh, (meaning ‘crossroads’), as the blessing of rain has attracted an influx of pastoralists and their animals from drought-stricken areas.
Mahad Ali Samatar, the chief of Kalabaydh, told Radio Ergo that people have been arriving from Sanag, Bari, Nugal and other parts of Sool region since early November.
“We have advised our people here to maintain peace and harmony and to share the limited resources equitably,” the chief said.
“Between 12 and 15 trucks are arriving daily carrying families. One truck carries five to seven families, so there have been maybe 50 families arriving in Kalabaydh each day. They are settling down right in the places where the trucks dropped them.”
Kalabayd lies around 32 km south of Lasanod in Sool region, which is territory disputed by Somaliland and Puntland. The current rain is the first it has had in two years.
Orshe Osman Farah was displaced from Qardho, in Bari region, with his last 100 goats. He came to Kalabaydh 10 days ago.
“Lack of fodder as a result of recurring droughts has hard the nomadic families hard,” Orshe said. “The land is parched and the grazing grounds have disappeared. We have water but nothing else. The drought has brought us to the edge, and we could not resist any more and so we decided to migrate.”
He and four other families boarded a truck, promising to pay back the $300 transport fare after reaching their destination.
Orshe said the vehicles only have room for the people and their livestock so they had to leave their traditional shelter materials behind. They are sleeping in the open, burned by the sun in the day and shivering at night.
The situation is similar across a roughly 100 square km area, where rainfall has brought migrating herders, including Karin-dabayl wayn, Karin Garfoog, Saaxdheer, Dabataag, and a stretch of the Somali-Ethiopian border.
Omar Hassan Ahmed came to Kalabaydh from Kulaal, some 240 km away in Sanag region. He left behind most of his family, including 15 children and grandchildren and two wives, in an IDP camp, where they could access some food and water.
He and five of his children trekked for 10 days with their remaining 40 goats. Over the recent droughty, they already lost 750 goats and 15 camels. They undertook the arduous journey on foot as Omar had no money for transport. As soon as they arrived in Kalabayd, Omar loaded some plastic containers onto his two donkeys and set off in search of water for the thirsty goats.
“We came along with about 20 families from Kulaal. We walked our livestock all this way through the parched lands,” he said. “It is much better here and more people are on their way. We did not receive enough rain in the Gu season and we have suffered drought during the past two years.”