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Somaliland Drought update

Thursday, January 14, 2016 - 10:00

Somaliland country is experiencing a severe drought affecting more than 240,000 people due to harsh climatic conditions triggered by El-Nino phenomenon.  The communities in the most affected regions - Maroodi-Jeh and Gabiley are Agro-pastoralists and Pastoralist. These regions are considered as the food basket of the country.

Failure of rainfall in two consecutive (Gu) seasons resulted acute shortage of water for farming, livestock and human consumption. These triggered shortage of food, fodder, rapidly drying pasture and water. Consequently, malnutrition has increased among the infants, children, elderly persons, women- especially pregnant and lactating mothers.

The Government of Somaliland declared drought on August 10, 2015 and appealed to Governments and organisations to support with food items, water and health services to cater for the affected people.

ActionAid Somaliland has conducted a drought assessment Report in December, 2015. The purpose and objectives of the assessment were to gather more detailed information on the overall context and situation of affected communities and on the extent and type of the most critical humanitarian needs, both in the immediate and longer term. To assess the impact and effectiveness of the emergency response efforts to date through consultations with stakeholders.

To work with the affected communities to understand the true nature of the droughts, its impact on the communities and its underlying causes; and to understand the needs and biggest concerns of the affected communities in order to develop an appropriate immediate and longer term program response linked to country programme longer term development plans.

The key findings of the Assessment

  • 12300 persons of 2015 HHs(5% HH and 5% population) in the Local Rights Programs (LRB) villages are affected in worst form and 108133 persons (of 18021 HHs) (40% population) affected severely;
  • 35-40% families are facing acute water crisis for human and livestock consumption. Additional 50% families will no longer have access water from sources in respective village.
  • Available water in water sources is not suitable for human consumption. But, people‚Äôs awareness on quality/safety of water is limited, so water is explained by availability in quantity, not quality.
  • As on date, the food security situation is grim. 89% families do not have food stock. Among the families who do have food stock, 74% are coping by buying food from the markets and others families are receiving support from the community. While most of them do not have income to buy food, price of staple food has almost doubled.
  • Poorest families has reduced food intake by reducing number of times and items of food (milk, meat, vegetables), they normally consume. 10% families suffered hunger (suffered without food) during the week before the assessment.
  • 35% families take food once a day and 55% families take food twice a day. It has contributed to malnutrition of children, women and elderly persons;
  • Starvation and malnutrition have affected more than 50% of children, women and elderly persons;
  • 35-40% of livestock died due to scarcity of fodder, pastures and water. The livestock is also facing drought health problems like diarrhoea; 
  • 78% of the families do not have fodder stock. More than 40% (part family members) have migrated along with their livestock to coastal area in search of water and pastures;
  • High incidence of water and personal hygiene and sanitation related diseases is widespread like diarrhoea, urinary tract infection (UTI). The incidence among children and women are even higher.
  • Work pressure on children has increased. 48% of children are malnourished and 46% of them are  exposed to various health risks;
  • Work pressure on women has increased. 50% women are  exposed to various health risks;
  • Government is poorly resourced to address the impact of the disaster and unable to mobilise resources;
  • As forecasted, if the impact of El - Nino get extended till 2016 and if the (Gu) rain fails in next season the situation will deteriorate further to an extreme situation. It will be a massive disaster for the nation, which will call for major relief operation.

ActionAid's Response

As the report indicates that  the number of households affecting by drought  is increasing with high frequency and there is a need to mobilize and harmonize resources  to mitigate the emerging issues .particularly the acute of water and food scarcity and almost 35-40% of the households became destitute and rely on handouts from the neighbors for survival. The community support system could not last longer than a month because the degree of the drought has reached and touched the majority of rural areas and eroded the community resilience and coping mechanisms Local Rights Programs (LRPs).

To response to this precarious situation, ActionAid Somaliland has distributed 400 households for Food and Water for the first respond towards the most affected families lived in 5 Villages including Gogol-Wanaag, Beeyo-Liibaan, Abaarso, Taysa and Hidhinta the total food ratio distributed was 400 sacks of Wheat flour, 400 sacks of Rice,  400 sacks of Sugar, 400 boxes of Dates, 100 box of Cooking Oils,  67 Box Milk powders and 2500 Barrels of water which equivalent(500,000 Litters of water) each family was provided enough food items.

 Abdirahman Abdilahi Muse, Communication Officer, is the author of this blog.