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Restoring the dignity of drought-affected families in Somalia

Following four consecutive failed rainy seasons, close to 800,000 people have been displaced by the severe drought in Somalia. Combined with ongoing conflicts, the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, desert locust infestation, and the ongoing war in Ukraine, the drought has taken a heavy toll on millions of Somalis, whose livelihoods have been wiped out as the situation worsens.

Posted on 01 Aug 2022

Fatuma Hassan, a 42-year-old mother of 5 children currently living in North Gakayo, is among the people who have recently been displaced by the drought.

“For a moment, try to imagine a situation where you lose all your livestock, your only source of livelihood and sustenance for your family. In addition, we had to travel for long distances, close to a week to a destination where we were not even sure we would get any support or relief. That is what I have been through, but I thank God we are all still alive to tell the story,” says Fatuma.

She continues, “We have witnessed drought before, lost animals and crops, however unlike other periods, we usually had enough livestock and crops to sustain ourselves until the rainy season, now the rains have failed for the fourth time and we are not sure if the fifth rainy season will come”.

The communities in Somalia are mostly reliant on livestock keeping as a means of livelihood and hardly have alternative sources of income or coping mechanisms for when such disasters hit.

“All I know is how to keep livestock, that is all we have grown up doing since childhood, and our animals are our sources of income,” Fatuma concludes.

Lifesaving cash assistance

DRC Somalia began the emergency lifesaving multipurpose cash assistance in Galkayo, Banadir and Gedo regions by providing cash assistance to meet acute humanitarian needs. Fatuma is lucky to be among the 1,617 beneficiaries in Galkayo alone that will receive 60 USD for three months. The impact of the cash has been significant for her family because of the immediate relief it provided. She used the cash to feed her children, settle some outstanding debts and purchased food for the rest.

‘‘The cash support has benefited us in many ways including paying for our family bills. It allowed me to meet my household needs. The cash support came at the right time, just when the severe drought affected our livelihoods. We are grateful.’’ Fatuma concludes.

DRC's emergency response

With the deteriorating humanitarian situation across Somalia, DRC has scaled up emergency frontline responses focusing primarily on provision of multi-purpose cash assistance to severely drought and displacement-affected populations along with integrated assistance to 104 IDP sites across the country.

01 Aug 2022
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