Published on 31 Mar 2016 — View Original
Severe drought exacerbated by El Niño conditions has hit parts of Puntland and Somaliland, affecting hundreds of thousands of people. Compounding an already challenging humanitarian situation in the area, this has brought the estimated number of people who face acute food insecurity in Somaliland and Puntland to 385,000 people. A further 1.3 million people risk slipping into acute food insecurity if they do not receive assistance. This brings the total number of people in need of some form of humanitarian assistance and livelihood support to 1.7 million, or 37 per cent of the 4.6 million people living in Puntland and Somaliland.
The drought conditions follow four successive seasons of below-average rains in parts of Somaliland (spanning two years), and a below-average Deyr rainy season in Puntland (OctoberDecember 2015). According to projections by Somalia Water and Land Information Management (SWALIM), there is an increased likelihood of nearnormal to below normal Gu rains (AprilJune) in Somaliland and northern parts of Puntland. This is expected to further negatively impact the drought situation and urgent life-saving humanitarian and livelihood support is required for people living in the drought-affected areas.
Currently, the drought is most severely and directly impacting pastoral and agropastoral communities – approximately three-quarters of the population – whose sources of food, income and water are diminishing and increasingly at risk. The below normal rainfall and drought conditions have led to a severe reduction in access to safe water and cereal harvest in Somaliland (87 per cent below the five-year average), largescale abnormal outmigration of livestock (including 60-70 per cent of households from the main inland pastoral areas of Puntland), and sharp increase in debt levels among poor households. The acute water and pasture shortages have caused pastoralists to migrate to areas with better conditions, resulting in increased competition and tension over scarce resources, and an overcrowding of animals that could increase the spread of contagious livestock diseases. Drought affected pastoralists from Ethiopia and Djibouti have also sought relief in the few remaining pastures, particularly in Awdal region of Somaliland, where rains were favourable in the last quarter of 2015. The most vulnerable pastoralists stayed behind, unable to afford the high cost of transport.
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