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Somaliland pastoralists losing livestock as they trek in search of water and pasture

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File Photo/Ergo

(ERGO) – Mohamed Sahal Loodoon, 78, left Ruqi village in Baki district on 26 February with his weak livestock in search of water and pasture.

The elderly pastoralist arrived in Osoli village in Lughaya district of Awdal region after a 10-day walk, losing 15 goats on the way.

“People and animals alike have been affected by the drought in Baki district. As far as I know about 100 goats have died in Baki due to lack of pasture and water,” said Mohamed, who left his family behind in the village to rely on dry food donated by relatives and neighbours.

Hundreds of pastoralists have migrated to remote areas of Lughaya and Borama districts from other stricken parts of Somaliland and even Ethiopia, in search of pasture and water.

Dayib Cudad, Baki district’s deputy mayor, told Radio Ergo that half of the pastoralists in the district had migrated away with their livestock.

“The district received poor rainfall during the Jilal season. We are not expecting any more rains soon and that is why the residents are flocking to other areas,” said the deputy mayor.

Although the pastoralists are not getting any assistance, they are still moving to areas where they think they might find pasture and water for their livestock.

Hassan Muhumed Omar Madar, who reached Osoli on 8 March, deplored the situation of his livestock. He lost 13 goats on his way.

“We were forced to migrate after experiencing pasture shortage in our area. The climate is different here though and we are finding it tough to settle,” said Hassan.

“The water here is salty, and we are not used to such water. It is tough but we are trying to survive.”

Hassan said that they found very little pasture available. They are also being affected by the intense heat in Lughaya. Baki district was cooler, and the difference has made life more difficult for many migrant families.

Some of the pastoralists said they were contemplating shifting again to other areas as the pasture had already been depleted by the large numbers of livestock airing there.

Many pastoralists and their herds have descended on Araweyne in Lughaya, 70 kilometres from Baki.

Said Rayale Warsame, one of the first to arrive at Araweyne, told Radio Ergo’s local reporter that the pasture in the area had already gone.

“We need assistance since we don’t have enough pasture here. The pastoralists who migrated here have come from as far as Ethiopia,” said Rayale.

The pastoralists’ hopes are fading fast with the seasonal rains already delayed. They are unable to sell their weak skinny animals and their livelihoods are under severe pressure.

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