Somaliland ravaged by crippling drought, with families left without food or income

April 7, 2017. Ferdigab, Somaliland. Mako Ogli, 23 years old, walks the two animals she has left of the 150 herd she had two years ago. With her son Mohamed, 2 years old, she spends the day on the look for grass and water for the weak animals and cutting tree branches to feed them. Before the drought, she used to live in Ferdigab, but when the water got scarce, she moved with all her things and her two children, walking for a whole day and night to Wereg's village. The drought followed her there, and she lost most of her livestock. “We had no other choice than to come back here. It is the only place I know with some water left” she says. Four months ago, when she returned to Ferdigab, she received unconditional money transfers from the Norwegian refugee council (NRC). Three times she benefited from 150 USD to buy food and clothes. It is the only humanitarian help she received since the beginning of the drought. Now, as her children are getting sick, feeling cold and coughing, the money allows her to buy them pain killers.

The self-declared state of Somaliland is ravaged by one of the worst droughts on records.

Hundreds of thousands of cattle have died, leaving families without income or food. More than 3.2 million people across Somaliland and Somalia need urgent food aid.

The drought has led to outbreaks of deadly diseases, such as cholera and Acute Watery Diarrhoea (AWD).

Hundreds of thousands of children are also suffering from malnutrition.

Somaliland declared independence from Somalia in 1991.

It has its own government, security forces and currency. But, it has failed to gain recognition from the international community.

It is now struggling to secure enough aid to keep hundreds of thousands of hungry citizens alive.

Somaliland is home to an estimated 4.4 million people. Many are pastoralists, relying on cattle for their income and survival.

Unlike Somalia, which has been wracked by terrorism, Somaliland has not had a major attack since 2008.

Some families have lost up to 90 per cent of their livestock because of the drought, leaving them without income, assets or food.

More than 50,000 cases of suspected cholera and AWD have been reported in Somalia and Somaliland since January.

A state of emergency was declared in the city of Burao, which has been hit hard by the outbreaks.

Women and children are the most vulnerable. More than 3.2 million people are in urgent need of assistance.

On average, families are spending more than half of their income on drinking water, because of the drought. Rains have failed to provide adequate supply for the past two years.

More than 700,000 people have been displaced by drought and hunger. Many have gathered in vast camps for Internally Displaced People (IDPs), where they are hoping to receive emergency food and water.

More than 1.4 million children in Somalia and Somaliland are at risk of acute malnutrition.

The hospital at Burao is dealing with three times as many suspected cases of cholera and AWD compared to last year. It has run out of funds to provide free treatment.

The staff haven’t been paid in the past month.

More than 730 people have died of suspected cholera and AWD across Somalia since January.

Source: Australian Broadcasting Corporation


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