Catastrophic Famine Struck In Somalia, While New Displaced Families Arrived In Mogadishu

Somalia Catastrophic Famine Struck In Somalia, While New Displaced Families Arrived In Mogadishu
JUL 11, 2022 LISTEN

MOGADISHU; SOMALIA: Record-breaking and worst drought in decades is ravaging East Africa it wreaks havoc and decimating crops and inducing the cost of food out of reach of May. In Somalia alone, 7 Million people [out of a total population of 16 million] could be at brink of famine in the next two months

if life-saving Aid is not accelerated and scaled up to meet skyrocketing needs. In 2011, some 250,000 people in Somalia--half of whom were children perished in a famine that followed by four consecutive seasons without rainfall less than half the Aid that donor counties pledged to the humanitarian Response was actually funded, and many of these deaths could be preventable.

As, Somalia enters its fifth consecutive season without rain , world leaders must step up to save lives , the 2022 humanitarian Response plan for food security in Somalia is currently only 20% funded-- at this time the growing impacts of climate change have vandalized livelihoods, and the crisis in Ukraine has precipitated the cost of food and the fuel needed to deliver it to spike as a result, 230,000 Somalis are already living in famine conditions Somalia faces the worst famine ever

recorded in the history amid ongoing drought that have deracinated local agricultural productions and killed millions of livestock, wiping out many families only source of income.

More than 7.1 million Somalis-- close to 50 percent of the population-now face crisis level of food insecurity or worse, according to a joint statement from the UN' s World food program (FFP) The food and agriculture organization (FAO) The UN's Children agency (UNICEF) And the UN office for the coordination of humanitarian affairs (OCHA) DAYNILE District had hosted new arrivals of displaced people coming from regions devastated by drought Faduma Hassan Mohamed has never witnessed a time like this in her life.

When rains failed to fall as in the previous years, she thought the river near her village of Buulo Warbo in Somalia's Southern Kunturwarey district would not run dry but later she realized the truth first, the skies above became cloudless, she said, the air hot and dry. Then the fertile and Arable soil below her feet that used to provide for her family turned into dark brown dust, the the river dried up.

She recalled her childhood memories when there was a torrential rains that lasted for months and inundated the agricultural lands and washed away some livestock while some villages were submerged due to the heavy rainfall as well as rivers could burst their banks and inundated the entire area life was made upside down she said. We were peasants .we tended the land we had a river and used to irrigate our crops with its water. We grew diversity of crops like maize, sorghum, beans, sesame and greener vegetables. Now we have lost all of that. The mother of six kids told ModernGhana through the phone.


"There was no clue or sign of rain in the sky and no water in the river. I can't even remember the last time, we harvested anything from the farm" Faduma who does not know her age. She elaborated desperately Buulowarbo more than 140km (87 miles) South-west of the capital Mogadishu, is in the lower Shabelle region, one of the country's breadbasket area. The region used to produce food for Mogadishu, but after four failed rainy seasons its people are on the move, trekking by foot toward the seaside capital.

Some have perished on the way, others, like Faduma, survived and sought refuge in a new IDP camp in Daynile area on the outskirt of Mogadishu, two of her children are with her but the rest are with their grandmother. The Horn of Africa country is experiencing its worst drought in four decades, according to the government and the United Nations,

with nearly a quarter of a million people facing starvation. Most Somalis are pastoralists relying on their livestock for food. But according to the UN, about three million livestock animals have perished due to the continuing drought and more than 805,000 people have been displaced. Approximately 7.1 million Somalis, almost half of the country's population, encounter acute levels of food insecurity.


The displaced say help is hard to come by even in the camps " I am here for 15 days and we have not received any help so far" Faduma siad about the plight of new arrivals at the Daynile camp. No one is here to assist us both morally and materially. There is only a water tap. Can water be food? We are just drinking water. Most have no shelters to escape the scorching sun, sweltering heat and strong winds blowing. Fadumo is among the lucky few that have received a Tarpaulin from volunteers, with handful of sticks and twigs, she managed to build a small shack barely able to fit more than one.

"The IDPs have nothing and everyday more of them are arriving " Deko Ahmed a volunteer leader Said we gather whatever we can from good Samaritans and distribute to them their health is not good, especially the young ones. Camps like this are forming everywhere because of the drought. In this camp there are more than 500 families, it is not known to any agency. They came here looking for help. But there is no assistance. Deko added..

Children are the most susceptible and the worst affected as many as malnourished and have precarious health conditions. According to the UN. At least 200 children have died of Undernutrition and preventable ailments in centers across the East African country Since January. When I visited the camp as a journalist to gauge the general plight of the camp, I was extremely frustrated after I have seen with my own eyes. Several babies, who were on the brink of death with their mothers looking on helplessly.

" Everything has become expensive " East African country has witnessed several, catastrophic and recurrent droughts in the past. The first famine struck in Somalia in 1974, the second in 1991, the third in 2011, the fourth in 2017 and this is the fifth famine in 2022 the frequency and devastation soared in recent years.

" we are not among those that cause climate change, global warming but we are the real victims of it" Abdirahman Abdishakur Warsame Somalia's special presidential envoy for Drought Response and humanitarian affairs told local media.

He frequently traveled to the worst struck regions of the country and assessed the magnitude and the scale of the drought and how it impacted the regions, he cited in the last three decades due to the climate change and pervasive security; they have been 12 drought, 5 famines and 16 floods. The Somali people are navigating through floods and droughts.


Majority of the drought victims are rural dwellers who were either pastoralists or peasants as a result of the drought. They emigrated to the big cities exerting huge burden to the already cash-strapped urban residents grappling with soaring inflation induced by the raging conflict in Ukraine and the aftermath of the pandemic which has caused global supply chain disruption.

More than 90 percent of Somalia's wheat used to come from Ukraine and Russia. Ukraine came under Russian Invasion on 24 February 2022 when Russian president Vladimir Putin authorized special military operation and labelled the ongoing conflict operation to denazify and demilitarize Ukraine Which had caused huge exodus of Ukrainian refugees pouring in Europe.

Ukrainian ports were either shuttered or under siege for months due to brutal Russian aerial bombardments, the price of wheat has skyrocketed and reached unprecedented level, pushing more people into poverty.

According to the UN, the country's poverty rate- measured as those living on less than $2 day-- stands at 73 percent. Mortality rate among pregnant and lactating mothers had soared exponentially before the hyperinflation we are currently witnessed in Somalia." Before a kilo of rice used to be 18, 000 Shillings [$0.72] a kilo of flour used to be 18,000 Shillings, and kilo of pasta was 18,000 Shillings a litre of oil used to be 16,000 Shillings [$0.64] Now the basic commodities have become quite expensive and no one can afford to purchase. A litre of oil is 45,000 Shillings [$1.80] a kilo of rice is 37,000 Shillings [ $1.50] a kilo of rice is $1 [25,000 Shillings]

Omar Mohamed Abdi a labourer, whom I have met on the Bakara Market, lamented and told me that his children always go to bed being hungry every night. Traders across the country said their hands are tied and have run out of options when it comes to helping hard-pressed customers.

Some of the customers are flabbergasted and dumbfounded due to soaring prices we elaborate them extensively how commodities became expensive where we used to import things have became expensive and inaccessible due to the resurgence of Covid_19 pandemic. Some understand the situation, while others walk away furiously and stunned. Abdiweli Issa Ali a shopkeeper who had been in the business for a long time and now has shops at the country's large Market of Bakara. Told me.

" NO DIGNITY, INTEGRITY AND CREDIBILITY IN THAT" According to the USAID' s famine Early warning system Network. (FEWSNET) And the UN's food security and nutrition Analysis Unit. (FSNAU) The 2022 (Rainy session) from October to December is forecast to be below average. So conditions are unlikely to improve until Mid-2023 at the earliest forecast add.

"The drought is impacting all parts of Somalia " Abdirahman told ModernGhana website. " Every province has a pocket where the situation is dire" we need about $1.4 billion to respond to the drought plight" A few shacks away from Faduma, Aden Ali Hassan is cuddling his young son and squinting because of the blazing sun.

"All our animals have perished " Aden a 42- years-old widower with five children said " Our farms disappeared because we haven't received any rain. I walked four days to Afgoye town (30km,(19miles from Mogadishu) then took a car here. We have received only Tarpaulin or plastic sheet, but no food at all. Two hundred and fifty families from my village. [ Bulo Warbo] are here We haven't had any harvest from our farms for the last three years he said.

For other displaced people languishing at IDP Camps with no help and remains in limbo. Their best hope of making it through these droughts is for the skies, above to open up and send down rains they expressed a hope and said there is a light at the end of the tunnel. We supplicate to Almighty Allah to offer us good and torrential rains. None of us wants to live in this IDP Camps, in dire, squalid and filthy conditions with no hygiene and sanitation and beg for food, there is no dignity in that Faduma a Mother of seven said While tears are bursting from her eyes.

In 2011 "More than a quarter of a million people perished as a result of the cataclysmic drought and famine-- we will come to regret our lack of action, if we let history repeats itself" Egeland the secretary General of NRC said even if the worst-case scenario is avoided, damage is already gone and will be massive; with dried out crops and dead livestock during preventable Hunger and suffering for the foreseeable future.

"Somalia's climate emergency is a hammer blow, to millions, combining years of drought with unprecedented levels of human suffering and starvation" Egeland emphasized at the end of a trip to the drought-stricken country less than USD 500 million has been allocated as humanitarian funding by international donors so far this year,

as well as the donor fatigue because they have been contributing the humanitarian crisis for almost three decades and nothing has changed so far, the same status quo. And the humanitarian emergency is underfunded compared to USD 1.3 billion in 2017 when Somalia encountered similar devastating drought conditions.


MOHAMED HUSSEIN MENTALIST: Author, blogger, prominent researcher, Horn of Africa Affairs analyst and senior lecturer at Mogadishu University.

AUTHOR: Holds BA in English Language and literature and BA in Business administration at Simad University. Master of arts in applied Linguistics at Kisii University in Nairobi as well as Master of peace and conflict studies at Uppsala University in Sweden.

Mohamed Hussein Mentalist
Mohamed Hussein Mentalist

East Africa correspondent of ModernGhana. Page: MohamedHusseinMentalist