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“Life is getting worse day by day. We need all the help we can get”

I recently visited Puntland and Somaliland- areas which have been severely affected by the dire drought crisis in East Africa. 

I witnessed the crisis communities are facing first-hand, and the desperate struggle for survival. 

In the areas I visited, the population are mostly pastoralists and the drought, now in its second year, has affected their means of earning a living. 

Thousands of livestock have died since the drought began, with the remaining animals being moved to areas where they can graze and drink.

“All went with the drought”

During my time in Bari Region, Puntland, I met father-of-12 Khalif, a farmer who migrated from his village in search of food and water. Sadly, the family faced the same situation everywhere they travelled to- the drought has meant that crops run dry and the animals that have survived are too weak to graze the land. 

A man in his village in Puntland

“The drought has meant that many animals have died. You can see the bodies of sheep and goats around. We used to live with these animals, but all went with the drought”, said Khalif. 

“We are now in August, but we expect that the rest of our animals will die if rain does not come. 

“Here in our village, there is no food and water as all the water harvesting dams have dried up. Many days we are forced to sleep hungry. 

“ I am appealing to all to please help us amid this critical situation”, he said. 

Climate change is reaching a critical point 

It was eye-opening and even alarming to see the worsening effects of climate change on the region. 

During my visit, I met Nour- a 66-year old from Warciman, Somaliland, who is a Village Head. 

Nour has seen Warciman experience several droughts, but is very concerned about the current crisis, which is the worst yet.

“When the drought hit, people lost their livestock. Their health and nutrition deteriorated,” Nour says. “My animals are weak, no one will buy them because they are so weak and fragile.”

He points to a large dam in the village, which can normally supply residents with water for up to six months. It has dried up completely.

Droughts such as this one can have lasting impacts on communities, Nour explains: “The schools have been closed because people have moved away and now many children cannot get an education.”

“I think the situation will get worse in the future, so I must do something. Life is getting worse day by day. We need all the help we can get.”

Islamic relief has been by the sides of communities in Somalia

Islamic Relief has been on the ground in Somalia assessing the situation to offer support. We have been supplying drought affected people with water using trucks, rehabilitating, and digging new boreholes. 

We also giving food and cash transfers to families for them to buy essential items. We are also giving shelter and essential household items such as water cans and cooking utensils.

But even before the recent crisis began, Islamic Relief was supporting communities in the region with life-changing development work and projects to help build resilience to the changing climate. 

One area that I visited in Somaliland is Qoyta, where a borehole that Islamic Relief constructed in 2017 is now being used by people affected by drought. 

People come from tens of kilometres to get water at the borehole for themselves and also their livestock.

‘’This area had been affected by drought and lack of water, and the people living here were in a difficult situation until Islamic Relief repaired our broken water point. People and animals have been drinking water today, yesterday, and even last week and the community is really happy now,” says Hamda from Qoyta, who is benefitting from Islamic Relief’s project. 

A lady feeding water to her son

Hamda gives water to her son thanks to Islamic Relief’s borehole

We urgently need your support 

The people in Somalia are calling for urgent assistance from the Government and humanitarian agencies. They are in desperate need of food, water, and feed for their animals.

7.1 million people do not have enough food to eat. The figure is expected to increase by the end of the year.

We are supporting vulnerable families amid this dire situation. Please donate to our East Africa Hunger Crisis Appeal to help us continue our vital work, and to help us reach more people in desperate need of help. 



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