Why are there famine recurrences in Somaliland?


Famine is caused due to low food production, and people’s ability to access food.Famine is regarded as the period of lack of rain in particular period of time, it was meant to rain and the people do not have the enough water to survive. Crop failure and poverty leave people vulnerable to starvation. This leads them to move from one place to another.

Reasons of Re-occurrence of famine
•    No policy: The government does not adopt the necessary policies to tackle the re-occurrence of drought due to the lack of skills and knowledge required. This has caused the lost of large number of livestock and plants. That has been Anti drought committee  assigned by the president didn’t  create policy but just collect money from the Somaliland people and diasporas. For how long will this method last? will it prevent the drought from occurring again? We should create boreholes in the rural areas to reduce the water shortages.
•    Poor water systems: The budget of Somaliland increases every year, (although unemployment is high) but they haven’t built dams to store water which can help in the production of electricity and can be used as a reserved.
•    Production failure: The low production of livestock and pastures due to the lack of machinery and finance causes the low supply to the market. This effects the rural  communities during the drought time as they have less food reserved and leads to acute livelihood conditions.
•    Access failure: The drought has killed off the pastoralists’ prime livestock assets (up to 90% animal mortality in some areas), slashing further their purchasing power.

Socio-economic impact
The drought causes the death of animals and the pastures that are consumed by humans, which hindrance foods exportation to the urban areas are reduces. This causes in hike of the prices which leads in inflation in the long run. The drought causes the influx of people form rural areas to towns, which adds pressure to towns since the water is scarce in Somaliland due to lack of enough water systems.

The water shortage and rapidly drying pasture has led to a loss of an estimated 35 to 40 percent loss of livestock including camels, goats, sheep and cattle. This is according to a rapid assessment report on the situation that was conducted by a Drought Response Committee appointed by the Somaliland Government in collaboration with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), and the Humanitarian Coordination Office in August, 2015.

Surveys carried out by HAVOYOCO among people displaced by drought in Togdheer, Sool and Sanag regions of Somaliland found that 59% of households reported they had lost all their livestock, forcing them to abandon their livelihoods and move to towns

The current inflation is the highest ever in Somaliland, where $1 dollar is 9000 SL, this caused the purchasing power of the customers to reduces, which in turn makes it difficult to in paying the bills for people special the poor, This in turn causes economic depreciation.
Government role

The government of Somaliland is appealing to governments and organizations to support with food items, water and health services to cater for the affected people. To date, the government has provided US$150,000 that can only cater for 3200 households out of the 40,000 requiring assistance.  The Anti-drought committee to help the people stricken by drought but still no success it’s a way to appease the people in order to overlook to their faults.

Its very humiliating and embarrassing to see Somaliland begging other countries for donations over the same problem every year!!! Its just shows that the resources are dilapidated and not harmonized to tackle such issues.

Who needs to be blamed?
Who should the people of Somaliland put the blame on, The government?, the big companies?, the rich?. Why we keep on making the same mistakes?  How to improve?. The answer is “the people of Somaliland” they are the ones that have elected them based on their tribes and not of their merits but guess what!!!?? IT BACKFIRES!!!. We have been facing droughts for almost 4 years , with the same consequence,.. We need to build boreholes in rural areas by working with respective INGO’s and the Ministry of Water and Mineral and to improve the climate change which are one of the factors of low rains. For the Central Bank to play more powerful role in the shaping of financial policy.

•    Somaliland Government to streamline the response coordination mechanisms and to adopt a coherent approach to drought t management.
•    To widen the area coverage of the emergency response and to draw up an effective strategy to save the people and to plan for their longer term rehabilitation.
•    Improvement of the capacity of water supply infrastructure.

•    For the Ministry of Water and Energy to create plate-form to mobilize and harmonize resources to tackle drought with the aid of professions, university graduates, companies etc.

By Yasmeen Hassan Abdi
Bsc. Political Science & International Relations



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