Published On: Sat, May 13th, 2017

Barren landscape leaves villagers dependent on food aid in Somaliland

Araweelo News Network

Hargeisa(ANN)-The land is dying. For as far as the eye can see there is little more than dirt – a barren, ruined landscape dotted with hardy shrubs and trees that are worthless to all but a few animals.
Where lush earth once boasted fields rich with crops and supported herds of healthy goats and sheep, there is now choking dust.
This is the reality for thousands of people desperately trying to scratch out a life in the rural areas of Somaliland, a stable and peaceful self-proclaimed independent state to the north of Somalia on the Horn of Africa.
Years of drought have ruined the land, turning an area once verdant and green into a wasteland.

A few hours south west of Hargeisa, the capital, a dirt track leads to a handful of villages.
Criss-crossing the dry mud is the occasional strip of dark brown – land that has been cultivated in the vain and desperate hope that rain may be around the corner.
Ahmed Mohamoud, who works for the charity Action Aid, pointed to the scarred land.

“This would all be green grass,” he explained. “Maize and sorghum, a cereal grass, and cash crops like water melon and onions. But now it’s empty, because the drought is coming again and again, different years.”
The rainy season was meant to start on March 23, but there has been very little.
“The land is turning into desert,” Mr Mohamoud said. “Before, if you talk to the old people, they say this land used to be green, a lot of grass everywhere, but now it’s empty for a long time.
“We are losing types of grasses and the landscape is changing. It’s been like this for the last 10, 15 years maybe. The last three years they don’t get anything, and it seems like year after year the rain is getting less and less. It is climate change, and with that we are not getting as much rain as before.”

The drought has left Somaliland, like other countries in East Africa, on the brink of famine.
Tens of thousands, if not more, have been forced to leave their villages, venturing to the cities and camps for internally displaced people in desperate search of food, water and the hope of a little work.
But for those who choose to stay in the countryside, or are too weak to leave, life is uncertain with a sense of foreboding.
The land yields no food, livestock are dying and there are grave fears people themselves may not be far behind.
But where the land and weather has let them down, aid agencies and charities offer hope.
In Somaliland, Action Aid is working to reach more than 13,860 people in some of the most drought-stricken areas, delivering food to 7,500 people and water to 3,600.

Among the villages to benefit is Sayla Bari, where 45 of the weakest and most vulnerable families selected by the community receive food aid, part of a four-month programme funded by the Disasters Emergency Committee through British donors.
At the distribution centre, one of 23 across Somaliland, the chosen few queued patiently while sacks of flour, sugar and rice were piled high, topped off with a large tin of dates and a bottle of coconut oil.
Once complete, the signal went up that they could take it away, and men, women and children scurried around hoisting sacks into wheelbarrows and on to shoulders to be taken home.

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About the Author

- #Arraale Mohamoud Jama is a freelance and investigative journalist, writer and human rights activist with more than 20 years of experience. He writes about a range of topics related to social issues such as human rights, politics and security. Other topics in which Mr. Arraale is interested include democracy and good governance. Mr. Arraale has written extensively on regional and international events, and has worked with Somaliland newspapers and Human rights organizations. In 2008, he established #Araweelo #News #website# Network, which he currently manages. For further information, please contact: or Send an SMS or MMS to + 252 63 442 5380 + 252 63 442 5380 /

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