Devastating drought in Somalia: A look at the root causes

Devastating drought in Somalia

Devastating drought in Somalia: A look at the root causes

Devastating drought in Somalia has led to famine in the East African country. Somalia, a nation marked by its breathtaking landscapes and resilient people, grappling with a recurring and devastating adversary: drought. These prolonged and severe droughts have inflicted profound suffering on the population, exacerbating the already complex challenges facing this East African nation.

Somalia’s dry regions have seen firsthand the catastrophic effects of water scarcity, which have destroyed cattle herds and thrown agricultural systems off balance, pushing populations to the brink of despair.


Since January 2021, drought has caused 1,170,842 individuals to be relocated as of the end of September. In September 2022, 68,393 individuals were left homeless due to drought, a 31% drop from August 2022. Lower Juba region has 22% while the Bay region has 26%. The region has seen the most recent migration, followed by Gedo, Banadir, and Bakool regions with 14%, 11%, and 11%, respectively.


Three population segments have been recognized as being at risk of starvation within April and June 2023 because of the devastating drought in Somalia during the IPC analysis carried out in January 2023: agropastoral communities in Burhakaba district (Bay region), internally displaced people (IDPs), and IDPs in Baidoa settlements.


To keep an eye on the circumstances, follow-up integrated surveys on food security, nutrition, and death were carried out in these three locations in March 2023. Considering the recent history of severe food insecurity, nutrition, and death results in Baidoa and the ensuing need for updated information in the area, the survey carried out in agropastoral Burhakaba also included agropastoral inhabitants in Baidoa district.


Somalia was ranked as the world’s most hungry nation. More than 2.9 million people (almost 20% of the population) are internally displaced as a result of violence, which also hinders access to food. The country’s lengthy history of drought is crucial to many of the difficulties it is currently facing. Let’s look at the causes of the devastating drought in the country and how it has caused more than 40% of the population to experience severe starvation.


Causes of devastating drought in Somalia


Extremely high levels of evaporation and very little rainfall, together with horrible droughts accompanied by flash floods, all contribute to the environmental degradation that will eventually imperil the population who live in Somalia. In the country, trees are chopped down for their wood and burned to make things.


On the southern tip of the Gulf of Aden, in the northwest of Somalia, is an area known as Somaliland. Due to the terrible environmental circumstances brought on by environmental deterioration and desertification, which have plagued the whole Horn of Africa, the region is battling to exist.


The manufacturing of charcoal, the clearing of land for agriculture, the excessive grazing of herds on already diminishing green spaces, the poor management of land, and the felling of trees to produce lumber for sale and construction are the primary drivers of desertification in this region.


The region’s ongoing drought has further wreaked havoc on the area and added to these extremely harmful actions. Loss of biodiversity and frequently increased soil erosion are both results of the drought. The future of the area is threatened by numerous behaviors that have persisted for years.


Somalia, which is in the Horn of Africa, is primarily arid because monsoon winds have already lost most of their moisture by the time they get there. The 2010–2011 drought, however, was more severe than those that are frequently brought on by the El Nio weather cycle. Since it was the worst drought in 60 years, famine was formally declared.


Climate change is already having an impact in Somalia. Repeated droughts and floods that result in widespread eviction, fast urbanization, hunger, malnutrition, and a rise in poverty are only a few of the severe effects of the devastating drought.


The country is the one in the Horn of Africa that has been most severely affected by the devastating drought. After three consecutive below-average rainy seasons, which led to acute water shortages and soaring food prices, the situation has reached a crisis point. The majority of Somalia’s people are currently suffering because of the country’s shifting climate. The livelihoods of the pastoral people have been threatened by devastating droughts, erratic rainfall, and increasing temperatures.


There was a drought in 2021 that affected more than 3.2 million people in 66 of Somalia’s 74 districts, and 169,000 people were forced to leave their homes in search of food, water, and pasture. The number of individuals in need of humanitarian aid was predicted to reach 7.7 million in 2022, up more than 30% from the current number.


The following rainy season is not anticipated until April due to climate change, and preliminary predictions indicate that it will also be below average. Thus, Somalia is currently experiencing the longest stretch of subpar rains since 1981.


The 2019 Jilaal season’s unusually hot and dry weather had a combined effect that led to widespread crop failure and an accelerated drop in livestock productivity, quickly putting communities in the most affected regions into a crisis stage, if not worse, of food insecurity.


There are already several indications that a crisis is developing, including irregular pastoral movement, declining cattle health and milk output, a rise in drought-related displacement, and a rise in illness. Out of the 5.4 million people who are predicted to experience acute food insecurity by July, 2.2 million will do so in a severe manner, a 40 percent increase from January 2023.



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