Cycle of Droughts: Natural Disaster or Manmade Catastrophe?

Somaliland, located in the Horn of Africa, is a semi-desert land with minimum rainfall in two rainy seasons, Dayr and Gua. The latter is expected to give more water in March to May every year. Majority of Somaliland people live in rural areas with livestock, and few with farms, particularly in the western regions and Sanaag region. Livestock export is the main source of income. Tax collected from Berbera Port is 70% of government budget. The population of Somaliland is roughly 3.5 million.

Livestock is crucial for the economy, security and state functioning. Any problem that negatively affects at the rural life impacts directly to the whole nation. That is why drought is felt immediately at urban areas as well. Although there is no censor carried out in Somaliland, it is believed that majority of Somaliland population are rural. Somali culture is based on collective sharing and family relations. Therefore, before drought becomes economic problem, it touches families and clans, creating social problems and burdens.

Ashley Hamer/Al Jazeera

Ashley Hamer/Al Jazeera

In this year (2016) Somaliland experiences severe drought and many people are in need of urgent food and water assistance. The government and local and Diaspora people are cooperating to collect fund to help drought affected people.

Since immemorial Somalilanders adapted the hard environment and lived accordingly. Their lives, mode of production and culture were shaped by the climate and environment. Shortage of water has been a reality. Nevertheless, in every decade, at least once the rainfall prolonged, and created a drought which in turn devastated the society. Well-known droughts were given names such as Siigo-dheer (1954) and Dabo-dheer (1974). Many people lost their lives and other more were impoverished and displaced.

But in recent years, drought is no longer a matter of decade away. Almost in every year, drought rages. A question that should be answered is why one month or two months delay of rainfall is so catastrophic?

There is no easy response, and putting forward one is naïve because it requires trough research. Nevertheless, there are visible reasons that at least facilitate the destruction prolonged rainfall causes to Somaliland and other Horn of African countries. These grounds persisted over decades.

Please read the Full Report here: Cycol of droughts