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Last Updated: Monday, 19 December 2005, 15:22 GMT
Deadly drought hits south Somalia
By Hassan Barise
BBC, Mogadishu

Man walks in front of food aid convoy
After 14 years of anarchy, Somalia is one of the poorest countries in the world
Serious droughts in many parts of southern Somalia have claimed the lives of both humans and livestock.

WFP says that malnutrition rates among children under five in southern Somalia are as high as 20%.

Local aid agencies and the Somali Red Crescent Society in Gedo region have found that more than 22 small villages and towns are suffering badly.

Food aid is now reaching some of the villages and towns in the region, but local elders say it is not enough.

At least two children, boys aged five and seven, have died of starvation in Fah-fah-dhun village, 80km west of Bardhere district of Gedo region in the past five days according to the village chief, Mr Ali Adam Warabeh.


The chief told the BBC via HF radio that more two-thirds of people in his village have left in search of pasture and water for their herds and themselves.

"Fah-fah-dhun village had about 1,500 families, but now there are fewer than 500 families remaining," he said.
We lost more than 30% of our herds to the drought already
Abdi Mohamed Abdulle, village chief
"Most of those families have moved to the Hagar and Afmadow towns where there is some grazing land for the herds."

Abdi Mohamed Abdulle, chief of the village of El-Addeh, told the BBC by radio that the shallow hand-dug water wells of his village and that of El-Gudud village have dried up because of the drought.

"Forget about cattle - the camels and goats are now on the brink of death," he said.

"We lost more than 30% of our herds to the drought already," he said.

In those villages, tanker trucks collect the water for the people from Bardhere town, some 80km east of Fah-fah-dhun village, and each barrel of water, 200 litres, is sold for about $7.

The chief said very few people could afford this.

Mr Shire Abdi Mohamed, the Somali Red Crescent Society coordinator in Gedo region, told me on the phone that he observed during their trip in the region that both the animals and people are fed with sorghum, a donation from the CARE-International aid agency.

"The animals have nothing on the land for them to graze, so they should be fed just like the people," he said.

The many other villages such as Khadijo Haji, Dhamaso, Harer Tur, Barwaqo and others are likewise suffering because of the drought and their village chiefs are crying out for help.

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