The ferocity of Drought in Somaliland
The drought in Somaliland is very severe and widespread and nearly ¼ million families in the countryside may need help soon. Therefore, we have to take an urgent action and save our dying people before the number of deaths spiral. Already five persons die in Awdal for lack of water and food along with their livestock.
The drought is stretched from East of Sanaag to the borders of Ethiopia and Djibouti with Somaliland to the west. The grip of the drought disaster is severe at Awdal and Selal regions whereby Hawd and Maroodijeex are now flagged red or are in a similar situation in Sanaag and some parts of Togdheer Regions.
The Haud and Reserve Area of Ethiopia is also expected to witness a shortage of water, if the Gu rains fail further at the end of March and that will exacerbate the situation as many families from Somaliland crossed the border with theirs livestock last year. So the drought will be devastating and turn to be a regional catastrophe in April if the weather continue as it is across the borders.
A concerted effort from All concerned Governments, business people, diaspora and IC could save lives and mitigate the harsh onset of this drought in the region that could wisely be responded together now.
The drought hit hard on already unsteady rural community in most parts of Somaliland with its severity apparent in Awdal, Selal and hilly areas in Maroodijeex and Sanaag regions that rains were either missed or sporadically received in the past years.
Many families in Awdal and Selal lost their herds to the drought and are heading now to the nearest towns by leaving the sick and frail on the tract, helplessly, as burden animals perished or collapsed on the way.
For the few families who were lucky enough to receive the emergency dry foods in recent handouts, cooking was not possible as water was lacking. “Thanks for the dry food, but we can’t prepare and cook it without water.” and elderly mother in Awdal softly responded “We are hungry and thrust now.”
It is worthwhile to mention the Gulf countries’ humanitarian effort, though not enough, by sending emergency food shipments in a bid to support the drought affected rural areas in Somaliland. The initial consignments were scantily distributed across the regions as the need was overwhelming everywhere.
The role of IGAD, UN and other crisis intervention groups seems missing in the race of drought relief operations and governmental support for long term strategy on drought prevention in Somaliland to redress recurring shortages of water and food is also missing.
So far, most of the Government efforts were allegedly concentrated in some parts of Maroodijeex and Gabiley area whereby rains missed last year along with Awdal and Selal and Eastern Sanaag, however, a less intense shower reported in some areas of Gabiley and Sabawanaag of Hargeisa, though insignificant, at beginning of this month.
The starting of rain in March as a few and patchy showers and the subsequent dryness of the weather is usually symbolic to a delaying Gu season patterns which may characterize an uneasy period of drought this year. However, we need to get prepared for the worst scenario if Allah’s mercy may not shower soon on Somaliland and across the borders.