Somaliland: still waiting for rain

East AfricaDisaster response and recoveryHungerSomalia

‘Before the drought we were self-sufficient. We had a large number of animals – they gave us enough milk and meat for our family to prosper. But the drought has been going for two years now.

‘There is very little pasture and water. Our livestock started dying one by one. My child became very weak and malnourished. Some children in this village died.’

This is what Kadra told us. She’s a mother of one who lives with her own mother and four siblings in Dhanano village, Somaliland. It is now the third rainy season in a row where there has been little or no rain in this East African nation. 

Most people in Somaliland are semi-nomadic pastoralists who herd goats, sheep and camels. When your livestock die, it can be deadly for you and your family.

So why isn’t it raining? Andy Morgan, Deputy Head of East and Southern Africa, says: ‘This drought is due to climate change. Over the last few years there has been a very strong El Niño effect, which in the Horn of Africa has led to rainfall well below typical levels or non- existent.

Photo: Tearfund/Colin Cosier

'In the semi-arid environment of Somaliland this means there is no pasture, and we’re seeing a 80-90 per cent loss of livestock. Without livestock these pastoralist communities have no income, no food, no water – hence a humanitarian crisis.’

Reaching the most vulnerable

Tearfund’s partner, World Concern, is in the area delivering assistance to the most vulnerable families, providing clean water and cash grants to enable them to purchase food and other essential items. 

Additionally, we are supporting the treatment of malnourished children in the drought-affected areas. Through our local partners in Somaliland, Tearfund has been able to help over 7,000 individuals in these ways.

Aaden also lives in the Dhanano village. He told us of his concerns and how Tearfund’s partners in the area are helping: ‘It is so dry here. People are suffering. Everyone is in need. The cash that has been given has helped us a lot. It saved us from death. If we didn’t have the support from you we would have died. We are asking this assistance to continue until we can recover from our losses.’

Grateful for support

Josie Smith, Programme Coordinator for the East Africa Crisis, has recently visited our work in Somaliland. She says: ‘I am encouraged that our partners really are reaching the people in greatest need in some of the most remote and hard hit communities in Somaliland. 

‘The rains have failed to arrive again and we expect to have to continue to assist those who are left with no means of supporting their families. We’re grateful for all our Tearfund supporters, whose giving has made this work possible and saved thousands of lives. Please continue to remember the people of Somaliland in your prayers and giving, so that we can keep being Jesus’ hands and feet in this desperate situation.’

PRAYER FOCUS:

  • Thank God for the work of our partners in Somaliland who are able to reach those most in need.
  • Rain is desperately needed, please pray that it will fall. 
  • Pray that we can continue our work in Somaliland and across East Africa, and expand it so that we can impact more lives.
Andrew Horton

Andrew is Online News and Film Editor for Tearfund. This involves finding and writing up inspiring articles for the website, and capturing compelling stories on video.

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