Somaliland’s three-year-long drought has crippled the economy of the breakaway, semi-desert territory in the Horn of Africa.
A former British colony, Somaliland gained autonomy from Somalia in 1991 but has yet to gain membership to the United Nations. Around 2 million people, nearly half its population, have been affected by the drought.
Authorities in Somaliland, which borders Djibouti, Ethiopia, Somalia and the Gulf of Aden, say that 80 percent of the livestock has died and that people have left the driest areas and settled in camps where aid is delivered.
“There was no rain in my area; the livestock had nothing to eat,” Faduma Abdelahi, who has lived on windy plains for the last two months, told FRANCE 24. “The animals were hungry, they were weak, they could not move and they died. The drought just went on and on and on.”
Those in the camps receive about a hundred dollars a month from non-governmental organisations that is transferred to their mobile phones.
Mowlid Mudan, from Save the Children Somaliland, told FRANCE 24 that the camp where he works makes cash transfers to 770 families.
The vast majority of families in Somaliland depend on cattle to make a living. As so many animals have died, the market price of a goat in Burao — the capital of the Togdheer region and Somaliland’s second city — has tripled. Subsequently, sustainable living has become impossible for countless families.
“We stand at a critical point in history,” UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O’Brien told the UN Security Council in March, in reference to the risk of famine in Kenya, Yemen, South Sudan and Somalia. “Already at the beginning of the year we are facing the largest humanitarian crisis since the creation of the UN,” he added.
Somaliland’s foreign minister has blamed the international community’s refusal to recognise the state 26 years after it declared independence for the territory’s ailing economy.
“Lack of recognition is proving a major problem,” Saad Ali Shire, Somaliland’s foreign minister, told The Guardian in May. “We do not receive bilateral aid. All aid goes to the third parties via the UN. If we were recognised, we could receive aid bilaterally, and attract international investors — so creating a more resilient economy that is less dependent on livestock.”
The country’s leaders believe that if they can persuade one swing state in the African Union, such as Ghana, to recognise the country, the rest of the international community would follow, according to The Guardian.