(ERGO) – Thousands of displaced pastoralist families have been struggling with a severe lack of water over the past few weeks in villages in southern parts of Sool region.
These areas received good rainfall in the previous Deyr season, which attracted an influx of many families from neighbouring regions. The water resources were therefore depleted rapidly. The destitute families are now forced to buy water, if they can.
“I have been to six water catchments, I haven’t seen any with water,” said Ibrahim Mohamud, whose 50 remaining goats have not had any water for 12 days.
He has been living in Anda-Lule village, 55 km from Lasanod, for three months. He told Radio Ergo by phone that his livestock and family of seven have been hit hard by the water crisis.
The families who migrated to the area are from Nugal, Bari, Sanag, Sool and Mudug regions, where the drought has been extremely severe.
Abdalla Hersi Jama, coordinator of the drought response committee in Sool, estimates there are around 15,000 displaced families in the region. He said the severe water scarcity is having devastating effects but they lack the capacity to deal with its impact.
The worst affected areas, where large number of families from other places have settled, are Dhumay, Kalabeyd, Dabataag, Andhalule and Gurmurka. The families can still find fodder for their livestock, encouraging them to stay in the area, despite the lack of water.
Ibrahim was displaced from the rural areas of Badan, which was ravaged by four years of drought. He lost 400 goats. His family and three others hired a vehicle for $1,300, which they borrowed, to transport their feeble animals in search of water and fodder. They travelled 270 km to this part of Sool, thinking it would lead to the survival of their herds and families.
Now, however, they are buying water from businessmen who bring water from Lasanod, 70 km away. They sell a barrel of water for $6. The pastoralist families, whose only source of income is from the sale of livestock, have had their income earning ability crushed.
“There is no market for the livestock. There is no one who even looks at our livestock because they are so skinny,” said Asha Jama Mohamed, a pastoralist mother of eight.
Asha said she begged businessmen to give her 20 litres of water for three days. She shared the water with three other families.
“Tonight, I don’t have any water to give to my children or even to use for cooking,” she said.
She has 40 remaining goats and brings them out to feed at night, because she is worried they might die of thirst in the scorching sun. Asha lost 360 goats in the drought before she migrated to this area from Hingalool.