By Dr. Mohamud Mohamed Ahmed (Buyow)
Somalia is experiencing the worst ever seen drought and famine hit in Horn of Africa and swept all assets belonged to the people which resulted crop and production failure, deterioration of food security, malnutrition leading to displacement, loss of hundreds of humans and thousands of livestock in many parts of the country particularly in South central, Puntland and Somaliland areas.
On Tuesday February 2017, Somalia President declared an emergency situation in the country in high level meeting attended by all stakeholders including donors in Mogadishu.
Reports say, 110 people died in Bay region alone as a result of drought and cholera outbreak for the past three days in Bay region.
Responses and Appeals
Both Somalia President and Prime Minister declared an emergency situation and asked all Somalia people and international communities to stand together with vulnerable Somalia people who is effected by the severe drought.
As a result, the Somali national drought committee is straggling with finding fund to provide live saving support to the people effected by the drought through media campaigns and other means of discussion.
Somali Government authorities, business communities, diaspora communities, religious leaders are doing much effort and providing contribution to help with poor and vulnerable individuals by supporting with water trucking, food and other aid distribution.
Also few international and local aid actors started to respond to the drought and help suffered communities though many are seen it’s a delayed response.
Why Recurrent Drought in Somalia
In more than a decade, there was a recurrent drought in Somalia which severely effects environment, people and animals. This has been seen due to a number of factors including;
Political and security instability; conflict, insecurity and political instability has been a dominant factor in Somalia. The country was in a war tone zone for more than two decades following the collapse of central Government resulting clan, political, and religious conflicts involved by many armed actors in the country. These conflicts led the collapse and destruction of of all nation’s public institutions and infrastructures to serve for the citizens. Currently the country is trying to regain its capacity and rebuilt the nation but it is going gradually and still unable to fully respond to its citizen needs efficiently. Access and lack of information in some parts of the country such as areas that is out of Government control particularly in rural areas where the drought effected mostly is also another contributing factor.
Local capacity issues, the ability and capacity of local people and local administration to respond the drought is limited. The local administrations lack the necessary skills and resources to tackle with the recurrent drought, therefore they can’t provide the support needed by the people such as establishment of early warning system, environmental protection, education and healthcare facilities, clean water as this will contribute social and economic improvement of the citizens. The demographic and community structure is also a factor as Somali population is estimated around 12 M with almost 50% living in rural areas. This needs special consideration and attention on the need of rural development strategy which is not currently put in placed.
Corruption, corruption is the worst disease effected by the Somalia community. According to Transparency International report, Somalia is ranked the last index in 2016. Widespread corruption exists in Somalia, ranked last on Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index in 2016. Much corruption revolves around foreign aid, and more opportunities for corruption are likely to exist in 2017 as more aid flows into the country (Transparency International 25/01/2017; Marqaati 11/02/2017).
Lack of comprehensive and effective resilience strategic plan; absence of resilience strategic plan to tackle with this recurrent drought in Somalia is another key factor contributing on the continued crises. Every time drought hits Somalia, there is an attempt to respond it but with no long term plan put in placed to deal with this continued disaster.
Heavy rely on foreign aid and reduction of remittance support from Somalia diaspora communities following the restriction of remittance in some countries, have a remarkable impact on the recurrent drought in Somalia. A quit number of local people are depending on remittance support form families and friends as alternative source of livelihood.
Also much relying on foreign aid resulted negligent of farming activities and search of other employment opportunities.
Somalia has been suffering recurrent drought since last two decades which has negative impact on the communities resulting loss of large number of human and livestock. To address and deal with this prolonged problem, there must be given a special consideration to the above mentioned issues and factors and came up with a durable solution so that a peaceful and prosperity country will be gained.
Dr. Mohamud Mohamed Ahmed (Buyow)
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