Most of Halima’s children are too young to remember how things used to be.

She remembers though. And each year she sees the determined march of the desert into her once rich pastoral lands, it brings a sense of foreboding to her village.

They have lost livestock to the drought – a barometer of wealth here – and people’s health is starting to fail.

Sixty-year-old Halima is one of five million people affected by a severe drought in Somalia.

Her village in the Sanaag region of Somaliland has been devastated. Most of Halima’s livestock died due to the water shortage and she now struggles to look after her family.

Thirty-five-year-old Kinsi tells a similar story. She lost all her livestock to the ongoing drought.

Kinsi has a business selling tea from her shop in the village. Since losing her livestock she has struggled to earn enough to feed her family.

Kinsi makes a daily trip to the water point in Dhob village. Clean water is provided by our partners, the Somali Red Crescent.

Since the death of her sister at the height of the drought, Kinsi has been looking after her nephew, Saed.

He is being treated at the mobile clinic provided by the Red Crescent. The clinic travels to the surrounding villages to provide health care.

One-year-old Saed is suffering from malnutrition.

Kinsi is not the only one at the clinic. A mother and child wait to be seen by a medical officer from the Red Crescent.

Red Crescent staff see a lot of children showing the early signs of malnutrition.

The team typically measure the children’s height and weight to decide what course of action to take.

The team also see a lot of skin infections and other conditions linked to water shortages. A Red Crescent medical officer prepares medication.

Abdulai, from our partner organisation the Somali Red Crescent, knows most of the villagers by name. He takes the details of those waiting to be seen at the clinic.

A young girl carries a goat – precious cargo indeed. A large number of livestock have died as a result of a prolonged period of drought.

Despite the presence of the mobile clinic, the elders of the village realise that there is only one real solution to the problems they are facing: rain.

Across the region, our partner organisation the Somali Red Crescent is providing health clinics, nutrition programmes and promoting good hygiene practices.

With support from the British Red Cross, they are also providing small amounts of emergency cash, food and water to help people cope with the drought.

All photos: Marrier d’Unienville / IFRC 

Source: British Red Cross

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