Somalia’s Prime Minister Hussein Roble has urged the business community to contribute to the humanitarian efforts to help countrymen affected by the ongoing drought.
“I have no words that are powerful enough to recall the honourable role the business community has played in contributing to the mitigation of urgent humanitarian situations in the country,” PM Roble said.
“I know you have been generous to your vulnerable people in the past,” he added, while elaborating the need to unite to energize the campaigns to confront the fast devastating drought.
He spoke as a group of Somali businesspeople gathered in Mogadishu for the launch of a local branch of private lender, My Bank.
On the same day, the PM named a committee to tackle the worsening drought situation in country, strategically composed of seven ministries led by the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management and assisted by the ministries of Finance, Planning, Health, Agriculture, Information, and Water and Energy.
“I am hereby urging the committee to act speedily by quickly generating a study that shows the needs and measures to mitigate them,” Roble stated.
PM Roble seems to have acted on a declaration jointly released by the United Nations and the Somali Government on Friday, stating that the worsening drought affects 2.3 million people in Somalia.
The country is facing another failed rain season.
As per known weather pattern, Somalia experiences two major rainy seasons, locally known as Gu’ (long rain season of October-December) and Dayr (the shorter April-May).
“Climate projections show that the country is facing a fourth consecutive failed rainfall season,” the organisations said, adding “It is imperative to act now to prevent a slide into the kind of drought and even famine conditions experienced in previous years.”
The declaration especially highlighted that so far, nearly 100,000 people, especially in central and southern areas, have abandoned their homes in search of food, water and pasture for their livestock.
“Lack of access to safe water and sanitation has also heightened the risk of water-borne diseases,” the statement said.
Ismael Abdi, a pastoralist in the rural areas of Hudur district in Bakol region, South West State, told the media last Thursday that the lack of water, food and animal feed is creating an uncomfortable environment.
He said a barrel of water (200 litres) that cost about $5 a week before now costs $10.
“In the spirit of self-help, I have bought several families drums of water at $10 each,” said Abdi, projecting that the cost could increase as water sources, including boreholes, dry up.
Abdi said that less resistant animals like cattle, donkeys and goats are dying in hordes. “Camels have started dying; human beings are likely to follow if a helping hand does not come.”
In other areas like parts of Gedo and Lower Jubba regions in Jubbaland State, officials and rural dwellers have recorded several animal deaths and human suffering.
A family that moved to the outskirts of Kismayu town, the interim capital of Jubbaland State, said they had lost 380 goats, 50 cows and 4 camels.
“We have lost all we had, our source of livelihood,” the father named as Osman told the media last week.
As per the document released on Friday, “Across the country, the number of people who need assistance and protection is forecast to rise by 30 per cent, from 5.9 million to about 7.7 million in 2022.”
“Over 70 per cent of all Somalis live below the poverty line.”
Ms Khadija Diriye, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, said that families are losing their livestock, a key source of livelihood, and may starve to death in the coming months.
“I am particularly worried about children, women, and the elderly and disabled people who continue to bear the brunt of Somalia’s humanitarian crisis,” she said.