By Surangani Abeyesekera – Chief, Communication for Development
Awdal, Somaliland, 27 February 2017 – The continuing drought in Somaliland forced Qaali Heybi, her husband and ten children to travel more than 400 kilometres west from their home village to find pasture for their animals who they depend on for survival. It was a long trip for them – and the 5000 other families who have moved in search of food and water.
“The stronger children and their father came on foot with some of the animals, while I brought the young animals and the smaller children on the truck” said Qaali.
Qaali’s family used to have over 150 sheep and goats and now have only 50, most of the surviving ones now too weak to move anymore. As we stood talking to her, another one of the sheep died and Qaali looked desperately at the other frail-looking animals.
Qaali is grateful to the community which welcomed them and their animals.Her family were welcomed by the people of Magaala Qallooa in the west of Somaliland where there has been a little more rain in the past. But even here the drought meant that the harvest of the local cereal Sorghum was a partial failure. We could see immature seeds dried on the stalks which could only now be used to feed their animals.
“May Allah bless them for their generosity. They have given us everything. They shared some Sorghum with us and they also gave us some sticks for fodder. This is all we have,” she said.
In the areas where the migrating population has settled, UNICEF continues to support the provision of health and nutrition interventions through four health centres located in Dila, Idhanka, Kalabaidh and Tog-wajaale with two additional mobile teams. Water trucking to these areas will also begin soon.The well or the water point is a three kilometre trek from her makeshift home and the family are lucky to have a donkey which can bring back four jerry cans of water. Some of their neighbours have to carry the water on their backs as their donkeys have died along with the other livestock.