Somali Diaspora The Only Donors

The Somali diaspora has started to return, and Somalia has started to attract foreign investment. (AA)
Somalia is facing a very real risk of famine, with more than 6 million people, half of Somali population, facing acute food insecurity in the country, three UN agencies have warned.
According to the latest findings, by the Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit(FSNAU) in Somalia, almost 3 million people face crisis and emergency food insecurity, more than double the number six months ago. Crisis and emergency, a classification of the severity of food insecurity, is one step away from famine. About 363,000 acutely malnourished children need urgent treatment and nutrition support, including about 71,000 who are severely malnourished, according to FSNAU.
Knowing it is little different this time round is heartbreaking. A drought that appears to be worsening has left more than 6.2 million people without enough food, if any at all.
Last week, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned that Somalia was at risk of its third famine in 25 years. The last one, in 2011, killed almost 260,000 people.
Some were farmers who had lost all their goats and cattle to the drought. They have had at least three failed harvests and, without this livestock, they have nothing. They are now living in tents pulled together with plastic sheeting and whatever material they can find.
The sense of community is clear as people club together to do what they can to help their neighbour.
In Mogadishu, a city trying to get on its feet. It is where thousands of people who need healthcare are coming because they can’t get any aid in some outlying areas.
There are still regions where aid agencies can’t reach because it is not safe.
Aside from the security threat, the number of people these aid agencies have to help is enormous. The UN children’s fund, UNICEF, says the number of malnourished children could double by the end of the year. Already 185,000 need life-saving support.
It’s difficult to see how the situation in Somalia can improve quickly enough to avert famine.
The other important thing is Somali Diaspora Unable to wait for help from their own government or the international community as they face the prospect of a devastating famine, Somalis at home and abroad are turning to one another for support.
Combining 21st century social media with the age-old clan network – the bedrock of Somali society as well as its safety net – communities are using WhatsApp to sponsor hard-hit families and raise funds to buy them life-saving supplies.
Based on the formula that one family needs approximately $60 a month, members of the group decide how many families then can sponsor. Then they deposit the money into a bank account set up by Dahabshiil, and post a photo of the receipt on the group to prove that the money is there.
A committee of five people withdraws the money from the account and buys basics for the sponsored families – usually rice, powdered milk and water.
It’s worrying to think that as Youth we may return in the coming months to tell the stories of people who won’t make it through this drought.
Abdirashid Abdi Jama
Borama, Somaliland


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