Somalia: Droughts and livelihood consequence

27 March, 2011, nassej

Weather affects people everyday and the weather is also important to human

The climate in a certain place does’ not change very much from year to year even though the weather may change a great deal from season to season. So when people talk about climate, they are not talking about the weather on a certain day or in a certain season.

Rather, they are talking about the kinds of weather they can expect during the course of many years. You already know about changing air temperatures from hot to cold and from cold to hot. You may also know about changing air pressure from high to low and from low to high. You may know about changing winds too.

The amount of moisture in the air also changes. Sometimes the air is very wet, and sometimes is very dry.[frax09alpha]

Drought impacts and people displacement

Dry weather in Somalia since October 2010 has resulted in drought conditions which are significantly affecting agricultural production, water resources and pasture.

The current drought situation continues to cause displacement, particularly of the pastoralist communities in various parts of the country. UNHCR estimates that of the 25,200 people displaced countrywide due to drought and insecurity since 23 February, 5,540 people are drought-affected.

Livestock have also been affected by the critical shortage of water and pasture. Soaring prices will inevitably make it harder for many Somalis to get hold of food.

The likely poor performance of the April-June rains in Somalia is expected to result in further deterioration in food security. The most-likely scenario is that the erratic distribution of the rainfall over space and time is likely to significantly reduce its utility for crop and pasture growth.

In the worst-case scenario, according to Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET), significantly below average rains, poor crop production, sustained high prices and very limited pasture/water replenishment in key grazing areas will occur.

Emergency contingency planning and the development of new response strategies to address current and expected food deficits and malnutrition are critical to save lives.

Responses

On 23-24 March, UNHCR and partners distributed 2,000 NFI kits to families affected by the conflict in Belet Xaawo, Gedo region.

Food assistance

WFP delivered a total of 2,371 metric tons of mixed food commodities to 141,000 beneficiaries through emergency school feeding, general food distribution, food for assets, food for work and nutrition programmes. Some 37,000 beneficiaries were in Somaliland, 64,000 in Puntland and the rest were in Mogadishu and Central Regions.

During the reporting week, the Xamar Jaabjab wet feeding center in Mogadishu was reopened after a brief closure last week. A total of 19 feeding centers are now operational providing more than 85,000 cooked meals daily to the poor and vulnerable.

Concern Worldwide distributed assorted food commodities to 433 households of which 231 households are displaced pregnant/lactating women in Mogadishu. The beneficiaries were screened by the organisation’s nutrition teams using their own selection criteria.

Water, sanitation and hygiene

Approximately 1,600 drought-affected IDPs in Mogadishu benefited from a distribution of 1,600 empty jerry cans for carrying water, and 102 cartons of soaps, conducted by national NGO WARDI, supported by UNICEF, to commemorate World Water Day on 22 March.

UNICEF is supporting the rehabilitation of six water points to benefit 18,000 people in response to the increased influx of drought-affected into Mogadishu.

The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) constructed 108 latrines for the newly displaced people in Medina districts in Mogadishu. NRC also distributed 90 sanitation kits (soap, towels, and basin) to five IDP settlements in Bossaso.

In Bari region, Puntland, NGO Shilcon started a water voucher activity in 63 drought-effected locations benefiting 30,600 people. In Sool and Sanaag regions, 10 boreholes were rehabilitated and are now benefiting 47,000 drought-affected people. In Bossaso and Badhan districts, two boreholes were rehabilitated and are benefiting 10,000 people.

Health

During the reporting week, Banadir Hospital in Mogadishu reported 136 cases of Acute Watery Diarrhoea (AWD) including 112 children under five years of age, of whom three died. Two of 20 samples collected during the week have tested positive for cholera and are awaiting laboratory confirmation. In response to the steady increase observed in the number of AWD cases reported from Banadir region since the beginning of March, WHO has collected approximately 70 samples for laboratory confirmation.

WHO is providing support to health partner COSV to verify rumours of AWD and to collect samples from Awdhegle district, Lower Shabelle region. Diarrheal Disease Kits have been pre-positioned at Marka and Qoryooley hospitals. Similarly, rumours of AWD have been reported from Baraag Ciise village in Galmudug. WHO is supporting the Ministry of Health with one inter-agency health kit (treats 10,000 people for 3 months) and one diarrheal disease kit (treats 100 severe cases).

From 19-20 March, WHO conducted a training on AWD case detection, management and control at the Xudur health centre, Bakool region, for 21 health workers from eight health facilities and for health committee members from four districts. The training also included a review of the integrated disease surveillance tools and case definitions.

The Somali Young Doctors Association trained 40 traditional birth attendants with the aim of reducing maternal mortality and morbidity risk, mostly among poor IDP women.

The Islamic Relief provided 980 IDP patients with free treatment and essential drugs as well as health care awareness. Twenty five people from targeted communities in Mogadishu received training on health messages to share with the rest of the community.

Nutrition

On 23 March, screening activities started at a Supplementary Feeding Programme in two districts of Bay region through UNICEF. Some 1,800 bags of corn-soya blend were distributed to benefit 1,138 children in 102 villages.

Since the beginning of the drought, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has distributed emergency supplies to half a million people throughout Somalia and has delivered water to almost one million. It is also helping people produce their own food by providing seed, tools and training.

The ICRC is providing long-term support to 36 clinics and 14 outpatient therapeutic feeding centres. With the ICRC’s help, the Somali Red Crescent Society recently opened two new health clinics in Middle Juba, a region of southern Somalia affected by conflict and drought. These two clinics alone will benefit over 100,000 people in the region.

The £110,000 released by the British Red Cross will help the Somali Red Crescent to continue providing food, healthcare, water and sanitation facilities.

This is devastating to a population already weakened by almost two decades of armed conflict. Thirty-two percent of Somalia’s population, around 2.4 million people, needs humanitarian assistance on the coming months as emergence.

Dry weather in Somalia since October 2010 has resulted in drought conditions which are significantly affecting agricultural production, water resources and pasture.

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