(ERGO) – Bashir Osman Mohamed has lost 60 of his 100 goats in less than two weeks due to a crippling water shortage affecting everyone in the remote village of Marsamage in central Somalia’s Adado district.
“My few remaining goats are so weak I can’t even sell them for anything at the market,” said distraught Bashir.
Bashir and his family of 10 have been surviving on 20 kgs of rice and $50 that he received from a relative in Bahdo town. He has been spending the money on water for cooking and drinking for the family.
But the money is almost finished and Bashir does not know how they will manage through the uncertainty, as drought in this part is starting to bite.
The 1,500 families in the village have been buying water from commercial tankers coming from Bahdo, 35 kilometres away.
Mohamed Ali Dalab, an elder in Marsamage, told Radio Ergo that five local wells used to sustain the villagers during the dry season but the last poor Deyr rains in the area caused the wells to dry up in March.
“If we don’t get the Gu’ rains soon the lives of the residents will be at risk,” Mohamed said.
At least 1,000 head of livestock in the village have already died due to the lack of water. Mohamed noted that the crisis has caused the residents to prioritise using the little water they have for cooking and drinking, rather than watering the animals. The livestock cannot survive more than six days without water.
Ahmed Abdi Farah, a resident with a family of eight, has been surviving on food they have been given by their neighbours. Ahmed had no savings, and his skinny goats have barely any value in the market.
Ahmed has lost 45 of his 120 goats in the past few weeks. He has been buying water on credit from the water tankers and has accumulated $150 in debt.
“The only wealth I have is the 75 goats, which I don’t think will survive this harsh weather,” said Ahmed.
He noted that the last time he experienced such hardship was in 2017, when drought killed his family’s 400 goats and two camels that they used for transport.