Somali herders who migrated for pasture and water return to the dry lands of Sool region

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Kaydka Sawirrada/Ergo Photo | File photo/Ergo

Radio Ergo 28 April, 2017 SOOL


(ERGO) - Hundreds of pastoralists who had travelled long distances in search of water and pasture for their drought-stricken livestock have begun returning to their home areas in northern Somalia, having failed to save their herds.

Abdirahman Hassan, 25, a father of four, is among more than 100 pastoralist families who came back from Bari region, where they had migrated at the end of December following some rains that caused high expectations among desperate herders.

However, as pastoralists from Sanag, Togdheer, Sool and the Somali regional state of Ethiopia descended upon Kandala and Isku-Shuban districts in Bari, the grazing that had sprung up after the rain did not last long at all.

Abdirahman is now back in Abesalay village, 17 km northwest of Lasanod in Sool region, where the land is as dry as ever and he does not know how he will survive. 

He paid $800 sent by his relatives abroad to hire transport to the Nobir valley in Isku-Shuban with his 200 remaining goats. But on reaching there, over a three week period he lost 70 animals to disease and hunger. The valley had been over grazed and the influx of livestock led to outbreaks of diseases.

“Livestock diseases broke out in the Nobir valley making the animals collapse and die. The area was also very hot and water wells were far away from where we were,” Abdirahman said.

He had to borrow $500 to move back from Nobir valley to Sool and wonders how he will manage to pay the debt without any animals to are many pastoralists in similar situations, although the precise numbers are not clear.

Ismail Warsame Abdi, who returned from Bari to Yahel, 45 km north of Lasanod, said 170 families who had migrated had returned to his village.  

Meanwhile, Awad Farah Gas, 40, with eight children, moved away from Sool to Bari and is unable to return due to lack of funds. He left Ban’ade village, 90 km north of Lasanod, in January and went to Hidhidho in Kandala, only to find conditions as bad as those he had left. His 450 goats have dwindles to 200 goats but he cannot move again.

“I am not planning to go back to Ban’ade because I cannot afford it. Those who can afford to hire a vehicle can go back but I am yet to pay the transportation fare to the owner of the vehicle that brought us here. Right now it is beyond my means to hire another vehicle. The remaining animals are not in good shape so cannot be sold,” Awad told Radio Ergo.

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