Africa

Drought in southwestern Somalia claims more lives

Pastoralists in Gedo have lost a sizeable amount of their livestock, say local officials

Mohammed Dhaysane   | 30.11.2021
Drought in southwestern Somalia claims more lives FILE PHOTO

MOGADISHU, Somalia

At least six people have died in the past week due to an ongoing devastating drought in Somalia's southwestern Gedo region, officials and community activists said Monday. 

Ibrahim Abdinur, a local administrator in the town of Luuq, one of the hardest-hit areas, confirmed the death toll to Anadolu Agency by phone.

"Yesterday, a mother of five died on the outskirts of Luuq due to the lack of water and food days after five children died in the countryside of the town," he said.

He added that the drought has devastated the entire region and the situation is dire.

Over the last two months, more than 100,000 heads of livestock are estimated to have been lost in Jubaland alone, according to officials.

"The most affected were people…who live in al-Shabaab territory and relief cannot reach them. Once they got to the city they were ok, but it's not easy for nomads to move more than 100 animals that are thirsty and starving," said Nadeef Abdishakur Mohamed, a community activist who is part of a team that started a GoFundMe campaign.

All of the donations go to people who need food and water throughout Jubaland, Mohamed said by phone.

He said they have estimated that every family in the Gedo region has lost over 30% of their livestock as the price of livestock has hit a record low in Jubaland due to the drought.

"The livestock market in Jubaland has crashed. No one is buying or selling anything. If you manage to find a buyer, you will get less than $10 for a sheep or goat and less than $60 for cattle compared to $70 to $90 on average for sheep and goats and $350 to $400 on average for cattle," he added.

-Local-led humanitarian relief

Local communities in and outside the country have stepped in and provided food and water in Kismayo, Afmadow, Dhobley, Baardheere, Elwaq, Luuq, Garbaharre, Doolow and Beledxaawo, which are the areas worst-hit by the drought.

Somalia has already declared a state of humanitarian emergency and urged the international community to double its efforts in responding to the drought, which is said to be the worst in the country since 2011.

The number of people in Somalia in need of humanitarian assistance is set to rise by 30% next year from 5.9 million to 7.7 million, the UN warned earlier this month.

Only 51% of humanitarian relief planning has received funding this year as of Nov. 12, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA).

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