Together we can do it, Our Country Director's Note from the Field.
Unlike when I visited Somalia in early March during the Jilaal season (traditionally the driest and harshest period in Somalia), my recent trip in late April was quite different. I could feel an emerging sense of hope and optimism among the communities about the rain finally pouring down. We now know however that when the rain arrived, it came much too late and was inadequate. Diminished was the much-anticipated reprieve from a humanitarian crisis that has only been worsening.
In the rural areas of the Sool region of Somalia where I spent some time, it was evident that the communities coping strategies were completely eroded. Many households have been relying heavily on water trucking and costly livestock supplementary feeding to mitigate and cope with their conditions. According to the UN, the situation is expected to further deteriorate and the risk of an impending famine persists since the Gu’ rains performed poorly in most parts of the country.
The outbreak of AWD/Cholera (Increasing in 16 out of the 18 regions of Somalia since the start of 2017), is adding a possible public health crisis to an already dire situation. Other emerging needs are also compounding the problem, such as migration and internal displacement of the affected populations in search of pasture, water or humanitarian assistance. Many of those who were displaced are now finding it extremely hard to go back to their original communities due to the exorbitant cost of transportation against a backdrop of reduced household purchasing power.
In one of the villages we visited in Sool region, we witnessed some of the devastating impacts of the drought. I saw fresh carcasses everywhere. Water was scarce and unsafe in unprotected earth pans where both humans and animals access water from the same point. Water contamination was impossible to avoid. Against the realities of the scorching sun, severe thirst and looming death, the outbreak of water-related diseases were an afterthought.
By all accounts the risk of a famine happening in Somalia is likely. However, sustained efforts to prevent famine that is swift, well targeted, scaled up assistance to new caseloads and hard-to-reach populations, and a well-coordinated and integrated approach is critical in prevention. Cash programming is core to Adeso’s drought response as a means to; provide dignified lifesaving assistance, stimulate the market, and potentially support beyond the drought by supporting recovery initiatives such as livelihood and safety nets.
Our response so far has been flexible and adaptive to the context. Cash-based programing must be core to our response. Our assistance targets the populations in most need focusing assistance to the rural and hard-to-reach areas. Equally, our two-pronged approach of integrating food security assistance with water, sanitation, and hygiene has been a rewarding approach.
I would like to thank all of our donors both institutional donors such as OFDA, FFP, EC, Somalia Stability Fund (DFID) as well as our private and individual donors. With your support, we were able to reach and provide lifesaving assistance to 165,144 drought affected people in pastoral and rural areas of Somalia. With an elevated famine risk in Somalia, we would like to sustain our current response and scale-up assistance to new cases to prevent famine in Somalia. Your continued support and donation would make a real difference. Please join us in preventing famine in Somalia. Together we can do it, God willing!