THE DROUGHT IN SOMALILAND

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FILE PHOTO: Women carry jerry cans of water from shallow wells dug from the sand along the Shabelle River bed, which is dry due to drought in Somalia's Shabelle region, March 19, 2016. REUTERS/Feisal Omar/File Photo

By Shamirah Abdallah

Somaliland’s major economic activity is livestock and a large number of people within are pastoralists. The government earns a lot of money from it when they trade animals with other countries in partnership, in exchange for money which is used to develop and run the country’s affairs. All has been fairly fine until when it was hindered by what is termed as ‘the longest drought in Somaliland’ now.

 

Droughts have been occurring in Somaliland though none has lasted as long as this has. The previous drought before this one’s outbreak lasted for 2 months overwhelmed by the current one which has lasted for 8 months now, from September (2016) up to date in April (2017) being very disastrous and leaving no animal alive according to the herders. This has taken the months known by the locals for rain inclusive.

 

The areas facing the greatest catastrophe are; Eragabo, Bosaso and Borao all in the eastern part. In these areas, animals are dying at a very high rate and in large numbers since herders don’t have water and feeds for them as it was in the past. This has left a pastoralist who had 1000 camels or so, 500 sheep and goats with less than 10 camels, 3 goats or sheep or nothing at all. With the ongoing situation where pastoralists have to painfully witness the death of their animals, they have completely lost hope as they feel that there is nothing that they can do to change anything. They have no funds to sustain their families, there is no food for them to eat as well, not even a drop of water for them to take. Therefore, they have devised several way outs.

 

Some herders are unfortunately committing suicide, even though some are dying just as a result of the drought. Others have decided in a way of yarning to save their lives to vacate their areas moving into the city where it seems to be fair, to live with their relatives. This however, has made the city more highly populated with a big number of unemployed people on the streets. The crime rate has gone so high as people pickpocket to survive throughout the day. A few nomads that still have some animals are moving tirelessly from place to place in search for water and pasture for their remaining animals and them.

 

Prayers for rain have been conducted country wide for several times as people cry to the Almighty Allah for mercy and to bless them with rain. The government on the other hand is also not at ease, trying all that it can to help out of the situation as the economy is at stake but the question now is, ‘if it happens and this drought goes on for some 5 months from now, how is Somaliland going to be?

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