Sunday, January 20, 2019

Somalia Droughts Become a Scourge

Credit: Farah Abdi
Line of Somali refugees in a camp, waiting for assistance.

Somali droughts are killing people, the nature as well as livestock.

Somali droughts have affected immensely most of the regions in the centre of the country. These droughts have also disturbed the lives of the different nomadic people who live in the area with their animals. The livestock are missing grass to browse, water to drink and even the weather has completely changed as it has become terribly hot that some of the livestock die from time to time. These droughts, in fact, are also upsetting human beings lives, particularly children and the elderly who cannot resist famine and thirst.

As for the UN head of the refugee agency, such drought-ridden situation of Somalia is the remains the most awful disaster the world has never lived. He stated this after he had met the refugees who persisted appalling hardship to reach the world's largest refugee camp in order to see if there they can get some assistance. It is said that the Kenyan camp of Dadaab is now becoming over flown with tens of thousands of newly arrived refugees. These refugees are forced into the camp by the parched landscape in the region where Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya meet.

Besides, different world organisations are giving their statistics regarding the disaster. It is in the same vein that the World Food Program believes and estimates that 10 million Somalis already seek humanitarian assistance. And for the U.N. Children's Fund, more than 2 million Somali children are cadaverous and emaciated because they lack lifesaving action from here and there. The above mentioned site of refugees of Dadaab was recently visited by Antonio Guterres. The latter being the head of UNHCR; he requested the whole world to feel pity and intervene in Somalia in order to supply massively support to the Somali needy who now count thousands of refugees who are showing up at this camp every day. In the same context, this camp alone contains now more than 380,000 Somali refugees who are living there.

In the same camp of Dadaab, Guterres spoke with a Somalia mother who lost three of her children during a 35-day walk to reach the camp. Guterres said Dadaab holds the poorest of the poor and the most vulnerable of the vulnerable the world has never had. This woman added that she became a little bit insane after her children had died on her way to the camp. She confirmed that all of them died on different days on her way to the camp. This is a hard coup for a parent, seeing her children dying in her eyes because of hunger and thirst. Today, the mortality rates that are being witnessed in Somalia have increased three times the level of emergency ceilings. Furthermore, the level of malnutrition of the children coming in is 50 percent.

Such facts widely help to understand the main reasons why the very high level of mortality becomes unavoidable in this country. Based on Dr Kebede, who is a UNHCR health officer, notes on the issue, there were 58 deaths in camps in one week alone last June and that there are some cases of deaths that are taking place at the registration office and transition facilities of the refugee camps in the southeastern Dollo region of Ethiopia. Somalia and other countries that are located in the horn of Africa are experiencing the negative effects of these droughts. Somalia has been challenged by years of inter-clan conflict and limited access to basic social services. It has been facing the worst drought for a decade now.

There is a drought in the area and for sure people are very hungry and they need water to drink, to cook , to wash and to feed the livestock. This means that food has become scarce if not nonexistent for the survivors. These survivors are now killing dome antelopes, called here dik dik, which gives them food and they drink its blood as water. This is how Somali people stay alive now. The whole situation is difficult, the people feel very hungry, the whole area, the whole country is the same, and this is now expanding to neighbouring countries. This is due to the position of this part of Africa. Other African countries that are located in the same zone now affected; these are Kenya, Djibouti, Ethiopia and Uganda. The situation in these countries has not reached that of Somalia but it is deteriorating from day to day.

The country contains desertic land that has become a ravaged landscape The drought is ravaging the country, particularly in the south where localized conflicts further compound the situation. Crop production is expected to be the lowest in over a decade and cattle deaths in the worst affected areas have already reached a big toll that the situation has become very alarming. Reports suggest that an estimated 1.5 million people in the North, Central and Southern regions of the country are in an acute state of food crisis. Malnutrition rates have reached over 25% in some areas and are expected to worsen in the coming months. Water catchment areas have also dried up, displacing up to 400,000 Somali people. This said, the country is living an awful moment of its history. Some villages are now facing water serious difficulties; one watering hole of a village has dried up since last year. The biggest priority for these people is the water.

When someone is bleeding, the first thing you do is stop the bleeding. So if there’s no water, there’s no life. Though Somalia is a dry land, the situation today has become terribly discouraging and people are fleeing worst drought-affected but they can’t find any other place with water. Due to its high water table, the town of Wajid has already attracted over 12,000 people from outlying areas. They are pouring into the town seeking food and water.

The situation of Somalia should be the priority of everyone of us, each in their own capacities. But big organisation should do all the best possible to save the lives of these unfortunate people. The great leaders should meet to see what are the ways out this appalling situation that is, not only widespread in Somalia but also spreading to neighbouring countries in the region. These powers that are being used to shell day and night Libya, why can’t they be used to save these millions of people dying in Somalia. It sounds as if wars are more important than lives of people. But maybe since, there is no oil in Somalia, less interest is directed to the country. Somali people need my attention and yours as well. As I have no means to address the issue, I contribute in my way by telling the world the plague Somalia is living today.

About the Writer

MUGISHO N.THEOPHILE is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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