A team from the Somaliland Diaspora Agency (SLDA) of MFA&IC led by the Chairman carried out quick assessment on some of the most affected areas in the eastern regions including Sahil, Sanaag, Sool, Saraar, Togdheer and Daad Madheedh.
The drought effect is now throughout the country and all people and parties are aware of the situation but as the Somali proverb says “War Indhaa Dhaama” which means “Seeing with your eyes is better than hearing.”
We started the assessment in the eastern Guban zones between Sahil and Sanaag and of those two regions and covered to assess, evaluate the impact and meet with the community representatives, VDCs, elders and herdsmen in over 80 settlements/villages in 15 districts of 7 regions in 10 days period. Nearly 100,000 pastoralists (Families) including villagers lived in the 80 settlements excluding the regional capitals of Erigavo, Las’anod, Odweyne, Ainabo as well as Gar-adag and El-Afweine districts according to the estimates made by the VDCs, district commissioners, informant traditional elders and other community representatives.
Specific objectives of the assessment:
As the mandate and key functions of the Diaspora Agency include giving information to the Diaspora abroad about the situation at home – both achievements, progress, opportunities and on the other hand difficulties and emergencies such as droughts and natural disasters.
The assessment aimed to:-
Summary of the Conducted Drought Assessment Report:
Lack of grass and fodder for the livestock:
The negative effect of the current drought exists in all the assessed settlements, districts and regions in terms of the lack of grazing and fodder for the livestock, dryness and emptiness in the land, forests and trees. This has affected all the regions, more severe in far eastern areas. There were slight rains in certain places of the far southern parts of Togdheer and north of Sanaag such as Odanle and Laas-domaarre respectively but it has already finished as thousands of families of pastoralists and their livestock moved to them from all directions.
As the result of this, some of the able families feed some of the weakened hungry livestock with wheat and cereals despite their food insecurity but because their life only rely on these herds. They cannot use the donkeys or he-camels to fetch water if they don’t feed like this.
Scarcity of water:
99% of the water barkeds emptied in the most areas that depended on surface water harvesting sources including the most settlements of Togdheer, south and east of Sanaag, Saraar, Sool and Daad Madheedh. Availability of water is very scarce in the most areas and few inadequate water trucks bring water to them from few existing water rigs and/or the other nearest to them which may be 30km, 40km, 50km or more farther in some places. For instance, the spokesperson of Durruqsi District Drought Committee stated that they planned one drum (20-25 liters) for each family as two water trucks of 100 barrels each cannot be adequate to over thousand families in the area. Very few families – not more than 10% of the herdsmen afforded to pour water to their barkeds.
In the Guban (Coastal) areas between Saahil and Sanaag, the hand dug wells and springs that people used to consume dried and so that most of them drink sour water and none of the settlements receive permanent water trucks except Laasciidle district which the Sahil region contracted a water truck for them and it moves round the villages to give water.
The sour water caused diarrhea to the children in some places as the residents reported such as Dhuur Cillaan, Laas-domaarre, other settlements under the districts of Laasciidle, Huluul, El-Afweine, Gar-adag etc. Similarly, residents in different settlements of Togdheer, Daad, Daad Madheedh and Sool consume unclean water from finishing sources. Most of the interviewed community representatives stated the problem of water will deteriorate particularly of all those communities consuming finishing wells and/or cemented barkeds in Sool, Saraar, Togdheer and Daad Madheedh.
In addition, the residents were complaining of or had concerns over the management of the Drought Committees – just improper planning and the process of distribution of the available support both food and water. “Please do not assign a needy man to bring something to another needy person ,” said community members in several settlements of different districts and regions. Another man said “Is it fair when both the wealthy and the poor receive equally if anything is distributed.” They called for the Regional and the National Drought Campaign Campaign Committees to
There is high level of malnutrition in all the affected areas because they people have nothing from the key resource they had traditionally depended on for living. A Health Team from Erigavo we met at Huluul district told us they had surveyed 550 children and 160 of them were of the highest level in malnutrition and more number were second to them.
Children, women and elderly people are more vulnerable to these destitute conditions in all the affected regions.
The negative impact of the people particularly the pastoralists include separation and division of each family into parts. The men took the remaining herds to far places and left the women, children and the elderly people in another place where mostly they cannot even get water with ease, some of them on mountains. Some of the community representatives, district commissioners and traditional elders volunteered to gather such neglected families including many other families who lost most of their lives and brought them together near villages to save them from starvation and thirst. In this way, over 200 families were brought to Huluul district and 350 families to Fadhigaab village – both Sanaag region.
They are in destitute condition and need shelters, blankets, water storage facilities etc, food, water, treatment, nutritious substances and all the other minimum basic needs. Also, the number of might have now increased.
The VDCs and community representatives we interviewed reported that the drought-displaced families who constitute both residents and new comers driven away by the droughts from other areas joined the the most villages in the assessed districts including Xagal, Laasciidle, Huluul, Ceel-Afweyn, Gar-Adag, Yagoori, Adhicadeeye, Caynabo, Qoryaale, Odweyne, Ballidhiig, Durruqsi, Xaaji Saalax,Khaatumo and Odweyne. Specially, The Durruqsi District Commission stated that despite the newly drought-displaced families, there were also nearly 2,000 families (IDPs) who joined the district border villages fled from the recent Gaashamo incidence and so all need urgent humanitarian relief and assistance.
In many places, temporary plastic-made tanks were put as for water storage for the scattered drought affected nomads who were gathered in places and also some of individual families made the same to put water for themselves and for the vitiated livestock when they find water.
The Regional Drought Committee of Daad Maadheedh and many district commissioners in the eastern regions complained of the limited capacity to gather and help such scattered households to gather and settle in suitable places near villages or water points and so that it would be easy to know about their needs and facilitate distribution works.
Essential social services:
During the assessment, the Team was asking and observing availability of the essential social services in each village and district such as health and education facilities, water sources including communal water points, veterinary services, security etc. Most of the assessed eastern districts particularly of eastern Sahil, Sanaag, Sool and Togdheer are more disparate and deprived in terms of the above essential services when look at 24 villages under Xagal district with only one health facility, 23 villages under Huluul with only one health facility (MCH) or only three health services out of 32 settlements under Ceel-Afweyn.
All those areas without health facilities are more vulnerable than the other places and particularly the Guban (Coastal) areas between Sahil and Sanaag of the difficult road accessibility are more disadvantaged. “Our pregnant women die of bleeding during delivery after days of helplessness or on the way to Berbera if a vehicle comes,” said an elder woman at Dhuur Cillaan of Laasciidle district. Similarly, most villages under the districts of Togdheer such as Durruqsi, Ballidhiig as well as the most villages under the districts of, Sool and Daad Madheedh are of the same situation. Most of the historic border districts and/or villages including Durruqsi and Khaatumo districts capitals and Dabagoryaale which are very populated are yet more neglected in terms of the key services.
Some of the health workers in the few areas with health posts, MCHs or health centers reported there had seen more cases of severe malnutrition, diarrhea in children than before. Similarly, some of the residents in the settlements lacking health services stated the severe malnutrition, diarrhea in children and several people suffering from liver pain, anemia etc.
The Diaspora Participation in the Drought Campaign:
The aims and objectives of this quick assessment included evaluating Somaliland Diaspora contribution to the current drought campaign as well as their participation in the different social services and public infrastructural building in the target eastern districts and regions. The interviewed district commissioners, Districts Level Drought Committees, VDCs, elders and the other community members of all the entire assessed areas stated they had not received any support towards the droughts response specific to the districts from the Diaspora and all of them called the Diaspora to particularly consider their needs rather than their contribution in the national level.
Only Garadag District received something to report for the droughts issue from the Diaspora. Dhuur Cillaan, Fadhigaab and a community at Durruqsi thanked individual persons in the Diaspora who donated some food commodity distributed to hundreds of families while some communities including Raaribuul and Dabagorayaale uttered they had not more members in the Diaspora.
In addition, there is very limited or not at all as Diaspora contribution in the communal services building in the most assessed villages of the districts, Xagal, Laasciidle, Huluul, Ceel-Afweyn, Durruqsi, Xaaji Saalax, Khaatumo whereas Diaspora groups from Gar-adag, Adhicadeeye, Qoryaale, Ballidhiig, Cali Ciise and Sabawanaag particularly contributed well to the community education (Boarding schools, religions learning centers, paying teachers etc) as well as health facilities in few places and constantly assist proper functioning and running of the services in some places. This information in details and the Diaspora contribution to similar and different projects in more other districts throughout the regions will appear in other reports the Agency will produce soon.
The SLDA Team also visited some useful development projects the Somaliland government is implementing in different locations in Sanaag and Togdheer regions including the SDF-funded projects of extension construction and improving Erigavo hospital, reconstruction and extension of Dayaha boarding school, Las’anod hospital as well as two ongoing water development (Rigs projects at Ballidhiig and Durruqsi funded by the government. The SDF-funded projects in Sanaag and Sool regions exceed twenty million dollars including Maydh and His Ports Construction – all very viable and useful.
Prepared by Somaliland Diaspora Agency
Ministry of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation
Hargeisa, Republic of Somaliland
List of the names of the assessed communities included the following areas: