HARGEISA/NAIROBI (March 28, 2017) — Large areas of communities in urgent need of life-saving assistance in Somaliland and other regions of Somalia are yet to be reached by the emergency response, warns global poverty-fighting organization, CARE.
Last week, drought-stricken communities in the Somaliland regions of Togdheer, Sool and Sanaag told CARE staff that a number of deaths from water-borne diseases and malnutrition had occurred over the last few weeks and that they feared the numbers would raise quickly if help did not arrive.
“Until last week, what we saw most places, were people on the brink – still coping, but running out of resources. The efforts to prevent another famine after 2011 had paid off and helped them manage three consecutive failed rains – something that speaks to the incredible resilience of these communities. Now as they are entering their fourth season without any rain so far, the situation is dramatically changed,” says Raheel Nazir Chaudhary, country director of CARE Somalia.
“What we see are people already past the brink and desperately appealing for help as quickly as possible. Their livestock, on which they depend to survive, lie dead all across the parched landscape. Around villages with some remaining form of water source, camps of internally displaced pastoralists are getting larger by the day, consisting mostly of women and children, who are particularly vulnerable to the health hazards of drinking polluted and increasingly saline water. They need shelter, protection and dignity.”
“By now we should be seeing trucks of water and food driving continually back and forth on these roads, but in many areas we are hardly seeing any. We are scrambling to scale up our emergency assistance, but more resources are needed and we need better coordination with other agencies to ensure as many as possible get the help they need. We have maybe only a couple of weeks to avoid a full scale famine,” warns Chaudhary.
“Recognizing that many of the worst affected areas are hard to reach and that significant numbers of pastoralists have not been able to migrate closer to villages and roads, we also need to provide local communities with means of transporting families known to suffer. For months villagers have been picking up vulnerable families by cars, but with inflation, they are running out of fuel,” explains Chaudhary.
CARE in Somalia is scaling up emergency response to provide a total of 1.6 million people with life-saving support in the most affected regions: Sool, Sanaag, Bari, Awdal, Lower Juba and Banadir, including water, food, therapeutic feeding services, cash, plastic sheets, blankets, sleeping mats, kitchen sets and jerry cans, as well as providing couseling and other services for survivors of gender-based violence.
Founded in 1945, CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. CARE has more than six decades of experience helping people prepare for disasters, providing lifesaving assistance when a crisis hits, and helping communities recover after the emergency has passed. CARE places special focus on women and children, who are often disproportionately affected by disasters. To learn more, visit www.care.org.
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