By Hussien Mohamed Yusuf
Somali Region is the Second Largest Region in Ethiopia. The Somali Regional state is prone to natural and human-made hazards. The key ones are hydro-meteorological hazards manifested in the form of drought and flood and the human-made hazards are Natural Resources Depletion and eco-system degradation. However, drought is the most frequent hazard in this region and makes it the most water scarce in the country. There also seems to be an increasing frequency of droughts, leading to increasing loss of assets, production and income and increasing food insecurity.
Drought has thus been widely recognized as a major climatic hazard and a key development and environmental challenge in the Somali Regional State of Ethiopia. If asked, Somali elders can easily make lists of major droughts over the past 30–50 years, with detailed accounts of the effects and implications. While opinions vary on the severity and frequency of drought in the historical past, recent reports and community opinions show that drought hazards have increased in frequency, intensity and magnitude over the recent decades and have adversely impacted on food, feed and water security and the sustainable livelihoods of Somali pastoralists.
Main indicators for experiencing a drought is related to livestock and livestock products, which are most vulnerable to climatic stresses of any kind, and especially in a lack of camel milk, which indicates both previous and immediate scarce of pastures. The impact of drought results in the death of live stock resulting in the outmigration and movement of pastoralists from less pasture and water areas to any location that they can find food and feed for human and animals that sometimes force them to cross borders.
Also the frequency of floods has increased along the riverine areas of the region. Floods often originate in neighbouring highland areas, even in places where there is no rainfall. When there are floods in the region, they are the consequence of a high rainfall intensity combined with high run-off as a result of the land topography, deforestation and soil erosion.
Most of the people in the Region depend on Livestock and Livestock Products as their main Source of Income and due to frequent drought in the Region, the Region has lost many of the Livestock to the recurrent drought and consequently this has created internally displaced people in different part of the region.
Among the poorest groups of pastoral families, further increase of poverty due to the decline of the natural resource base induced by climate change lead to a disruption of families, in a way that men migrate to towns to look for jobs, while women are left behind to take care for the children in the camps created by those climate displaced IDPs.
As the former Head of one of the NGOs in the Region dealing with IDPs and the Government, I have learned that there is lack of Coordination and giving the needed attention to the internally displaced people in the Region.
It was only three months ago that the well known Somali Aljazeera Journalist, Mohammed Adow posted some gruesome pictures of climate displaced women and children in a desperate situation at Farburo camp around Gode in his facebook page at that that i saw the comments on that post and all the people who saw that post was disheartened and disappointed by the situation up there.
All the people who wrote comments on that post, asked the Government to handle the situation to the earliest possible, but I believe nothing has changed about the situation of the poor mothers and children in that camp
. I was working there for almost a year and have personally listened about their plight. These climate induced IDPs arrived in this camp almost three years ago and since at that time they got no support from the Government except few emergency on-off support from NGOs working in those areas.
I was disappointed and disheartened every day I was travelling across the Bridge of Shabelle River and the very flat fertile land connecting Gode and Adadle Districts where the Farduro camp is located.
Can you imagine that people are dying and suffering without food besides a river that follows day and night and is surrounded by a very fertile land that can feed not only Somali Region but the whole Country?
I can vividly remember discussing with Government officials about the urgent need of allocating budget in just rehabilitating the already existing Irrigation canals and with the close collaboration of the Regional Agriculture office and that of the District, supporting farmers with tools and improved seeds, which will eventually help them feed their families in ease throughout the year.
The other most promising part of the Irrigation system is that it will not consume much fuel but all farms can be irrigated through gravity since the nature of the land is very flat and is favourable for gravity irrigation.
I was always disappointed, when we are called for urgent meetings by the Government to deal with the situation of the Climate induced IDPS and I and other Colleagues from the other NGOs repeatedly raised the need of the Government to come up with a long term intervention programmes that can help address this problem, otherwise asking NGOs to do only few months Emergency intervention issues will not address this problem.
I personally believe that the Government has the resources (Human and Capital Resources) to address those problems but needs to come up with the Commitment to shoulder this responsibility instead of passing this responsibility to NGOs who has recently been faced by shortage of funds and that leaves the poorer Communities neglected and forgotten.
Hussien Mohamed Yusuf
Email: [email protected]
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