Drought complicates humanitarian demands in Somalia

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By ABDIKARIIM JAMA

More organizations will be needed to take the on-ground approach in making critical intervention in the country now facing triple challenges of insecurity, drought and returnees.

As soon as Kenya announced that it would close its Daadab Refugee Camp last year, Somalia whose more than 350,000 refugees was poised for tough times ahead. The country’s humanitarian need at home shot up and more interventions are needed more than ever before.

After series of negotiations between the two governments, the November 2016 deadline was extended for another six months with the returnees beginning to trickle fast. In 2016 alone, about 36,000 refugees returned home mainly to the border town of Kismayo.

While many would look into how to help these returnees with the same humanitarian interventions they needed while away from home, many have not been able to comprehend the magnitude of a new headache at home, drought .

Only a few charity organizations have made attempts to assist dealing with the drought that already is threatening to dry up the few remaining water points.

Sources in Hargeisa indicate that already 1.5million people are affected by the drought while about 250,000 face acute food insecurity in the Western parts of the country.

Residents have already lost almost 60 per cent of their livestock and more than 70 per cent of the water resources have dried up.

The ARC International base has plunged into the challenge of dealing with the natural disaster. The international Charity has field offices in Kismayo, Dhobley, Hargeisa ,Las Canood, Mogadishu and a support office in Nairobi. ARC International programmes focus on conflict and drought affected displaced persons, vulnerable host communities and Returnees.

“The biggest challenge we have here is the need for water and we are working round the clock with all the resources we have to ensure we have them covered” said ARC’s programme cordinator, Abdirahman Mohamed Adan.

 “With regards to drought response, We have been responding to acute water shortage through water trucking for the past two months reaching 10,570 beneficiaries through distributing 1.6 million liters of water,” Mr. Abdirahman said.

After more than two decades of living as refugees in surrounding countries, Somalis are beginning to return home to the harsh reality of joblessness and now famine.

While ARC has already created 10,000 jobs in the country in the past year the new challenge now poses a big threat.