Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Drought and conflict hit Somali families from Ethiopia appeal for aid in Awdal, Somaliland

Ali Oofle Duale and his wife and four children have been living as homeless people in Kalawle area in Awdal, Somaliland’s western region, after fleeing from the Somali region of Ethiopia last December.

They trekked for 20 days from Halboor in Sitti zone over the border to Kalawle, where they are now sleeping under a tree.

“We don’t have a house – we stay under the tree during the day and at night we sleep outside. If there’s any rain, we don’t have shelter to keep us dry. We were living a good life and we had houses but we were displaced by conflict and drought,” he said.

Ali arrived in Kalawle with 35 sheep and two donkeys – all the animals remaining from the 200 animals they once had. The rest died during prolonged drought. He came to Somaliland hoping to keep his remaining feeble animals alive by finding water and fodder.

They are among 130 Somali Ethiopian families from Sitti who have set up a basic camp in a small area where the grazing for the livestock has already been depleted.

Ali praised the locals for welcoming them and offering them food, although it ran out quickly.

“The locals are good people. They helped us. It is us who are impoverished and everything is expensive around here,” he said, adding his appeal to the authorities to help them get plastic sheeting for shelter.

Compounding the losses from drought, these families faced inter-communal conflict in Siti zone that led to the loss of relatives and livestock and other property.

Abdullahi Muse Abtidoon lost two sons killed in the conflict that forced them to abandon their home. He arrived in Kalawle with his wife and four remaining children, and their 30 goats and four cows. They had lost 170 goats earlier to the drought.

The food they were given by local people in Kalawle was much appreciated but lasted only for two weeks.

“The locals helped us with food and water. They got us food from the shops, some got us water and fodder. They are not too well off either and they can’t continue to help us,” he noted.

Abdullahi buys 20 litres of water at 2,000 Somaliland shillings ($0.25). In January he sold two of his goats for $80 and bought 50kgs of rice and flour which they have been sharing with other families.

“We fled drought and conflict. We arrived with our lives here in Somalia. We carried very few things. We need help and we are appealing to the aid organisations,” he said. He and his family are also sleeping outside without any shelter.

Kalawle local commissioner, Saleban Jilaal Ali, said the locals in the area were facing their own hardships and although they had collected some food aid, they did not have the capacity to support all the displaced families.

“The people are very many and more are still coming. The fodder has been depleted. The locals don’t have fodder for their animals either and there is nowhere to go,” he said.

Saleban said some families had nothing at all when they arrived and aid agencies should respond to their needs.

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