HARGEISA, 7 August 2012 (IRIN) – Years of poor rains have ravaged parts of the self-declared republic of Somaliland. IRIN spoke to the territory’s vice president, Abdi-Rahman Abdillahi Saylici, about the effects of the drought, aspirations for international recognition and the Al-Shabab insurgency.
Q: What is the current drought situation in Somaliland?
A: Actually, the drought has been going on for the last three years particularly in areas along the coast; the situation there is really bad. Animals have died, including camels that are known for their resilience, and people are so malnourished that you cannot look at them. It seems that, God forbid, if the usual rains don’t come in the next three months, these people will get very weak and the remaining animals will die. So we are requesting urgent support from the international community.
Q: What are the main livelihoods of those affected by the drought?
A: The drought has affected all kinds of people. In all the areas we visited, there was no sign of cultivation, as is the case during this time of the year. You will find that the soil is dry. The livestock keepers are facing very difficult times too; they have not had rain for three years. Those suffering the most are the vulnerable ones like women, children and the elderly.