(ERGO) – Desperate to save his ailing livestock, Nur Abdi Kulmiye moved with his family of six to Habasweyne, a rural part of central Somalia’s Galgadud region, hoping to get water and pasture for his 230 goats and two camels.
They were among 25 pastoralist families who migrated inland from El Hur, in the coastal district of Hobyo in Mudug region, where two consecutive rainy seasons failed.
It took them 10 days and nights to walk the distance of around 150 kilometres.
“It was a tough journey, most of the families we travelled with couldn’t walk past Hinlabi area because of thirst and hunger,” he said.
However, they are now stranded without adequate water or food, as Habasweyne has no well and residents depend on commercial tankers to deliver water.
Nur partnered with some other families to buy a barrel of water costing $6 to last about five days, just enough for drinking and cooking only, using money he receives occasionally from his relatives in El Hur.
“The livestock are so weak they can’t walk, even if we had moved them to other areas where there is water. You can understand our hardship, water is life,” he said.
He found a little pasture for his livestock but the lack of water is taking a heavy toll on them. He took three of his goats to Adado market last week but no buyers were interested as they were too weak.
“The only livestock selling are those that have been grazing the whole year and have meat on them. But for those like mine, no one even looks at them because of their skinny appearance,” he said.
The commissioner of Gideys said the residents there have been getting water from a well that was dug in 2018, but they are not in a position to help the families stuck in Habasweyne, some 25 kilometres away. All the authorities can do is ask local people to support the newcomers.
Another struggling pastoralist, Aman Abdullahi Hirsi from Towfiiq village in Galkayo, moved in May to Dagaari village, 100 km away. He rented a vehicle for $170 to transport his family of nine and the livestock, and still owes half the amount as he did not have enough cash.
He lost 20 goats to the drought since January, although his remaining goats are now recovering. His biggest challenge now is having to travel to Galkayo, 32 km from Dagaari, to the nearest livestock market, where he feels like an outsider.
“The locals in Galkayo take advantage of our circumstances and offer us less than the market price. Goats that sold at $50 or $40 are now being sold at $30,” he complained.
Dagaari commissioner, Nageeye Hassan Haybe, told Radio Ergo that the locals and the newcomers were forming long queues with their livestock at the three wells in the village.
The influx of pastoralists has already resulted in a pasture shortage and he fears the wells will dry up soon.
“The rainwater in the reservoirs has already been used up. The water in the wells is not that much either,” he said.