Officials in Somalia's self-declared independent republic of Somaliland have appealed to the international community to provide humanitarian aid for hundreds of thousands of people, especially children, in the wake of prolonged drought.
"The affected population is estimated at about 40 percent of Somaliland's 3.5 million, which is equivalent to 1.4 million people," Ali Ibrahim, Minister for Planning and National Aid Co-ordination, told IRIN.
Following the failure of the Gu and Deyr rainy seasons in 2009, he said help was needed in water-trucking, construction and rehabilitation of boreholes, rehabilitation and desilting of dams, and the supply of medication for affected human and livestock populations to avert an outbreak of epidemics.
Ibrahim added nutritional support for the weak and sick was required.
"The situation is critical and may continue to worsen in the coming months," he said. "It requires rapid and fast responses from the international community, the business community, and humanitarian and benevolent institutions, to deliver needed humanitarian assistance and livelihood support."
The Food and Agriculture Organization’s Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU) has also raised concerns about the effects of the drought.
In a 12 February brief, it said the Sool Plateau of Sanaag region and Togdheer agro-pastoral livelihood zones were experiencing an acute food and livelihood crisis.
"Fortunately, humanitarian access to these regions is good; therefore it is essential for agencies to extend the much-needed life-saving and/or livelihood support interventions to the population in these areas to prevent further deterioration."
According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA-Somalia), the Consolidated Appeals Process (CAP) - through which UN agencies and NGOs solicit funding for projects and programmes - is 5 percent funded so far, meaning "there are huge funding gaps in comparison to the needs on the ground".
Some 22 percent of the funding for FAO’s emergency support to pastoral and agro-pastoral communities in humanitarian emergency and acute food and livelihood crises had been met by 15 February 2010, according to a list of appeal projects. Of the US$11,457,500 required, the earmarked funding received so far for this project was $2,501,842, with $8,955,658 remaining unmet.
No funding had been received, by 15 February, for another $285,000 project aimed at improving crop production among poor agro-pastoralists in Sool region or for a $124,000 project to boost crop production and income generation among agro-pastoral communities in Togdheer region.
Officials of Somaliland’s Ministry of Planning and Aid Coordination and the National Environment Risk and Disaster (NERAD) have described the nutritional status of agro-pastoralists as critical.
Sa'id Ahmed, an agro-pastoralist, told IRIN on 11 February: "I come from Uubaale, just less than 15km south of Hargeisa; all the people who had cattle have lost their animals and now we are afraid that we may get contaminated by disease because of the dead animals."
A December-January assessment by NERAD found that the Gu, Karan and Heis rains were below normal, while there was no rain in eastern areas such as Sool, Sanag and Togdheer.
This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions
Help make quality journalism about crises possible
The New Humanitarian is an independent, non-profit newsroom founded in 1995. We deliver quality, reliable journalism about crises and big issues impacting the world today. Our reporting on humanitarian aid has uncovered sex scandals, scams, data breaches, corruption, and much more.
Our readers trust us to hold power in the multi-billion-dollar aid sector accountable and to amplify the voices of those impacted by crises. We’re on the ground, reporting from the front lines, to bring you the inside story.
We keep our journalism free – no paywalls – thanks to the support of donors and readers like you who believe we need more independent journalism in the world. Your contribution means we can continue delivering award-winning journalism about crises.