Drought continues to devastate communities in Puntland and Somaliland despite rains

By Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)

The Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, Mr. Peter de Clercq, has witnessed firsthand the impact of the devastating drought in parts of Puntland and Somaliland during his recent visits and has called for urgent action to avert a deterioration of the situation.

The drought has impacted lives and livelihoods, compounding an already challenging humanitarian situation. In some areas, 60-80 per cent of herds have been lost, with devastating impact on families who depend on livestock for income, food and status. “I am deeply concerned about the devastating effects of the persisting drought on the communities in Puntland and Somaliland. I have called for urgent action to avert a rapid deterioration of the situation. If we can vaccinate livestock and provide cash and inputs to agro-pastoralists now, we can mitigate the impact of the current drought,” said Peter de Clercq.

The situation remains of serious concern in spite of the rains with nearly 385,000 people in Puntland and Somaliland facing acute food insecurity while an estimated 1.3 million people are at risk of slipping into acute food insecurity if they do not receive assistance. Overall, nearly 1.7 million or 37 per cent of the 4.6 million people in Puntland and Somaliland need some form of humanitarian assistance.

Even though the Gu rains have brought an end to the drought in some areas and opportunities for recovery among affected communities, the crisis remains of serious concern given the cumulative impact of up to four failed rainy seasons in some areas. If the rains stop earlier than end-May/early-June, the situation could deteriorate rapidly and deeply. Livestock continue to die due to the drought and the rains.

Critical life-saving assistance has continued since October. Partners are scaling up with more resources starting to come since March when the Humanitarian Coordinator launched the Call for Aid requesting $105 million to boost the drought response. Priority is given to putting cash in people's pockets to save lives and enable recovery of livelihoods for both pastoralists and agro-pastoralists. Assistance to pastoralists also includes a broad spectrum of animal health support, such as vaccinations and possible restocking in the future. Agro-pastoralists are also supported with seeds and tractor hours.

During his visit, the Humanitarian Coordinator met with representatives of the government, donors, humanitarian partners and affected communities to assess the impact the current drought and ongoing response by partners. The visits are also part of an initiative to find solutions for the 1.1 million Somalis in protracted displacement across the country.