(ERGO) – Pastoralists in Lasanod in the northern Somali Sool region have been forced to migrate from their homes following mudslides in the valleys where they have been grazing their livestock.
Torrential rains and flash floods in recent weeks have left deep gullies and sinkholes across the grazing valleys, making it perilous for people and livestock.
The valleys affected include Aesalay, Asaha, Darjada, Tifafle and Gabdhabe.
Mohamed Abdirahman Ali, a traditional herder, moved with his 100 goats out of Tifafle valley to a village some 20 km away. The father of three told Radio Ergo that the new area lacked adequate pasture but at least the land seemed less risky.
“I left the area, even my hut is still back in the valley,” said Mohamed. “The land turned into gullies when the rain water was diverted, while other parts of the valley became barren and dusty,” he said.
Mohamed said they needed assistance to prevent soil erosion that was leaving livestock including camels at risk of falling into the deep pits and gullies.
“It is beyond our capacity to stop it. The authorities and aid agencies in cooperation with locals should take action to prevent erosion,” he said.
Another pastoralist, Muse Farah Awad, had to move out of Gabadhe valley, 21 km east of Lasanod, to an area on a hillside, with his 120 goats and 20 camels.
“Parts of the valley sank, then the erosion spread. The recent rain has forced people to move away. I personally moved to the hillside because I feared that my three children and the animals could fall into the gullies,” he said.
Jama Ahmed Duale, an environmental development expert based in Lasanod, said the pastoralists were themselves partly to blame for the problem.
“The protection of the environment is everybody’s responsibility,” Jama said.
“The pastoralists settle anywhere, whether it is on a water passage or not. Other factors are trucks travelling along the valleys [causing erosion].
We have to come up with a solution and educate people on the importance of the environment and the problems of soil erosion,” he said.