There are no storm clouds on the horizon in Somaliland, and that’s a bad thing for the eastern African republic’s drought-stricken people.
Hospitals are filled with sick and starving patients, many of them children, and fresh water is hard to come by in Somalia, where the country is poised to miss its third straight rainy season due to drought.
The United Nations says 20 million people are facing starvation in Somalia, Nigeria, Yemen and South Sudan, where an estimated US$4.4 billion has been requested to prevent a catastrophic hunger crisis. Canada has pledged $119.25 million to the relief effort, but overall, only $984 million has been raised to date.
The situation has raised fears that the death toll could surpass the 200,000 who died during the country’s last drought, in 2011.
CTV’s Melanie Nagy went inside one of Somalia’s busy urban hospitals, where she spoke to parents whose children are suffering from malnutrition. Most of the patients are from remote villages in eastern Somaliland, where a severe lack of water has wiped out the crops and livestock that people rely on for food.
Haboon, 24, says when she arrived at the hospital with her daughter, the four-year-old was barely breathing and unable to walk. The young mother said she travelled a full day just to find help for her daughter, who is now being treated for severe malnutrition.
Another woman at the hospital said she simply couldn’t find enough food to keep her three-year-old daughter healthy. She said her goats were dying and almost all of her crops were gone because of the severe drought.
But while some are working to fight the symptoms of the drought, others are working to alleviate the root cause. Humanitarian groups bring trucks full of clean water into the drought-stricken villages, where people break into song at their arrival. Their only other water sources are dirty, and are known for spreading deadly cholera.
With a report from CTV’s Melanie Nagy in eastern Somaliland