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A Human And Livestock Catastrophe Looms In Somaliland
By Abdirahman Ahmed Ali
The cloudless skies over Somaliland are threatening the health and well-being of up to 300,000 people. Somaliland is part of developing world, where the difference between life and death can be decided by the weather. If no rain, then people and livestock die for thirty and starvation.
The Vice President of Somaliland Ahmed Yusuf Yasin called international community, aid agencies and donors to help the government of Somaliland in avoiding catastrophe, which can result from the drought in Somaliland. As livestock perish, families are loose their primary source of food and income. Many are reduced to eating one meal a day and malnutrition has reached high proportions, especially among children and the elderly. The Vice President called for emergency food and aid supplies to avoid tragedy.
The eastern regions of Somaliland need very urgent aid supplies as it is most affected areas compare to other parts of the country. In Sool and Sanaag, the loss of livestock and humanitarian crisis has reached serious proportions and requires an urgent and adequate response from the international community and aid agencies.
Food shortages are mainly severe in eastern regions of Somaliland, where deaths of animals from starvation are been increasingly reported. There, and in parts of Somaliland shortage of food are main fear of the people and the government. The majority of Somalilanders breed livestock and their main income depend on revenues collected from trading with livestock.
Today’s drought in Somaliland needs aid but not pledges before it will go from a crisis to a disaster to a catastrophe if help is not provided in time.
Somaliland economy has been suffering from long years of international diplomatic embargo that isolated Somaliland from the rest of the world. Due to lack of diplomatic recognition, Somaliland cannot do business with the outside world, as they don’t exist according to the international community. Somaliland banks and businessmen can’t do business with their counterparts in other parts of the world.
Donors need to frontload their efforts so that action can be taken now to save the lives of thousands of people and livestock in Somaliland; the aid supplies in three months will be too late for many people in Somaliland who start losing their domestic animals.
We call UN, EU, U.S.A, Arab League and Organization of Islamic Conference to quickly answer the call of the government of Somaliland, because the lives can be saved today, as it will be too late for tomorrow. The region did not get proper rains except light showering in some areas for more than one year. Rains did fall in late April / early May in most parts of Somaliland.
Eastern region of Ethiopia, known earlier Reserve Area, is also in danger to similar droughts as the region shares similar weather with Somaliland. The rural nomads of both Somaliland and Reserve Area make shift across the international Somaliland-Ethiopian border in search of rain and water. They always set up temporary shelters in the areas that have received better rains whether in Somaliland or in Ethiopia. Today, the drought hit both Somaliland and Ethiopia forcing the people to flee their homes in search of better livings.
The government of Somaliland warned against rise in malnutrition rates among the children less than five years. There is loss of animals due to the lack of water.
The people need emergency food aid and medicine supplies, especially after the government of Somaliland called for a quick aid to avoid famine and starvation.
The world should hear the call and contribute humanitarian assistance to the people of Somaliland before it is too late. Besides, the U.S Forces stationed in nearby Djibouti should help Somaliland to cope with this humanitarian crises.
I also call upon the Somaliland Diaspora abroad to contribute both in cash and in kind to alleviate the situation.