Somaliland is a drought prone country. Currently, there is a severe drought plaguing the self-declared republic of Somaliland, in particular the eastern part of Sanaag, rural Awdal, Salal and Gebiley regions. The rainy seasons are Gu (April-June) and Deyr (September-October).
Due to El Nino and the pattern of the climate change has resulted two years of below average rain fails in Somaliland. MoWR and its partner Somalia Water & Land Information Management (SWALIM) are predicting, the country will experience near or below normal Gu rain fail. The prediction will push many pastoral and agro-pastoral communities into the category of needing urgent humanitarian assistance, especially Water, Hygiene & Sanitation (WASH).
According to OCHA, nearly 385, 000 are in dire situation in the regions of Puntland and Somaliland. This will bring to the total number of people needing emergency assistance to 1.7 million, or 37 per cent of the total population in both regions.
Water & pasture shortages has forced pastoralists & agro pastoralists to migrate with areas they suspect with better water & pasture conditions. Drought affected communities from Ethiopia & Djibouti have added the strain of the local communities in Awdal & Salal regions. Estimates indicate the price of water has reached 110 per cent more compared to normal season in the Awdal region. Women and children carry the burden of water fetching and the price hike.
Early warning humanitarian agencies, such as, FAO’s Food Security & Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU) and FEWSNET are estimating 1.7 million people in need of an emergency assistance in Puntland & Somaliland. Drought may also increase conflicts over scarce resources in water points. Over 55, 000 people have received temporary water, such as, water trucking and vouchers & others have received access to sustained water points. Thanks to UNICEF in Somaliland.
MoWR has led the water trucking and voucher systems in the eastern regions of Togdheer, Sool, Sanaag with financial & technical assistance from UNICEF. Also, MoWR has spread headed the west Awdal, Salal & parts of Gebiley region. Poor coordination is one of the constraints. I have observed in my last trip of Qolijeed in Awdal region some 30km outskirts of Borama, the few organizations that come to assist the drought affected regions are not strategically organized in the western part of the country. However, there are local self-help groups like the business communities in Somaliland who are well organized in their support of the needy communities. Thus, strategically coordinated assistance in needed to avert the situation to further deteriorate.
MoWR has dispatched mobile technical teams utilizing recently donated crane by Care International to repair the strategic boreholes in Awdal & Salal regions. As a result, submersible pumps and generators are being repaired for the strategic boreholes. New water equipment, such as, fast moving parts was also purchased to alleviate the drought affected areas. Also, Care International has participated in assisting Sanaag region for water trucking in the severely affected & remote areas of Sanaag. Finally, UNICEF who has the WASH sector lead in Somaliland has supported MoWR in mitigating the hardest hit areas in Somaliland.
My recommendations are to empower National Environmental and Disaster Relief Agency (NERAD) whose mandate is early disaster warning and mitigation for Somaliland and to prepare long term strategy to avert the recurring droughts.
Ministry of Water Resources