Somalia: Plea for Help As Drought Pushes People Towards Urban Centres (Google / allAfrica)

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Somalia: Plea for Help As Drought Pushes People Towards Urban Centres


Local leaders in central Somalia have appealed for help as the severe drought being experienced in the region is forcing many nomads who lost their livestock – the principal means of survival – to abandon their homes and move to urban centres. “In the last two weeks, 500 families have arrived from rural areas after losing their animals,” said Abdullahi Moalim Abdi, an official of Save Somali Women and Children, an NGO that works in Adado district of Galgadud region. He said people were still leaving the rural areas. “We had at least two dozen families arrive today [28 April] and they look very bad,” Abdi said. Ali Gedi, a 70-year-old resident of Adado, 620km north of Mogadishu, told IRIN that the lack of water was the biggest problem the people faced.

He said the area had not had any rains for three years and “Gu [long rains] that should have started in early April did not start. Many of the water points that people depend on have dried up and there is not a drop of water in barkads [water catchments].”

Gedi said the people had experienced droughts before but “nothing like this. I remember Dabadheer [meaning long-tailed, the name given to the 1984 drought, one of the worst in recent history] but this is worse.”

He said the effects of previous droughts like Dabadheer were mitigated “because we had a government. They were taking people by airplanes then to safe places. This time we have nothing and no one is coming to help.”

Abdi said people were coming from as far as 60km away in search of water. “The two boreholes of Adado are the only source of water for 30 villages east and west of Adado.”

He said they had received reports of two children, aged two and four, dying of thirst in the village of Qabriley, 20km southwest of Adado.

Adado residents have set up a committee of elders to raise money to help settle the families arriving in the town.


Three factors, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, were responsible for the rapid deterioration in Somalia’s humanitarian situation – an extremely harsh dry season, increasing insecurity and high rates of inflation.

[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations ]

Author: Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.

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