#ICYMI Weekly Roundup: The Drought in Somalia February 24, 2017

Beletweyne district, Eljale village. The ICRC and the Somali Red Crescent Society distribute emergency assistance to more than 30,000 people to alleviate the effects of the flood. Women receive food - such as rice, oil and beans - blankets, mosquito nets and hygiene kits.

Beletweyne district, Eljale village. The ICRC and the Somali Red Crescent Society distribute emergency assistance to more than 30,000 people to alleviate the effects of the flood. Women receive food - such as rice, oil and beans - blankets, mosquito nets and hygiene kits.

While droughts are cyclical in Somalia, last year’s failed rains have exacerbated this year’s conditions, devastating communities dependent on them for their livestock and livelihood. To help those most affected, the ICRC and the Somali Red Crescent Society (SRCS) are currently distributing food to 140,000 drought-affected people, with hopes to reach an additional 10,0000 with cash and other essential items in coming days. The situation is so dire that Sared Haji Jaama, a mother living in a Somali displacement camp responded to a question about conditions, she said "I simply have no words for this drought."

To read more about the work of the ICRC in Somalia here. You can also read the British Red Cross story of one family’s fight for survival.

For this week’s roundup, we take a look at some of the conversations and discussions happening around the drought in Somalia as portrayed by the media and online outlets. **

 Pastoralists rely on hosts and aid to beat drought in Somalia (Africa News)

While movement is part of life for Somalia’s pastoralists – in the last year, they have struggled to find water and viable grazing land for their animals due to failed rains. “I am 75 years old, I have not heard of or seen such a severe drought,” said Bile Abdi. Bile’s family say they travelled up to 150 kilometers to get here with 1,200 goats and sheep. Only 60 goats and sheep survived. His grandson died along the way.

Somalia faces unprecedented drought (Voice of America)

Jason Patinkin writes that even the hyenas won't eat the carcasses of Mohamed Aden Guleid's sheep, goats and camels, which litter the landscape in Somalia's northwest Somaliland region. There is too little meat on their bones because of a devastating drought.

Why 20 Million People are on the Brink of Famine in a ‘World of Plenty’ (New York Times)

Somini Sengupta asks the stark question, in a world filled with excess food, why can’t the world avert the catastrophe of 20 million people suffering imminent risk of death because of famine?

Famine fears rise as Somalia suffers worst drought in decades (Financial Times)

John Aglionby reports that elders camp say the conditions are the driest since the 1950s and they have called the drought Lagamalito, which means “the worst” in Somali. More than half of Somalia’s 12m population are in need of assistance, with 2.9m at serious risk of famine if rains due in April are not better than average, the UN warns. That number is rising by the week as people’s animals, in most cases their only assets, die in front of them.

Drought in Somalia: Time is Running Out (Al Jazeera)

Karel Prinsloo writes that the Horn of Africa is in the grips of a drought that has affected nearly half the population. The article is accompanied by a gripping photo essay.

Are you a writer, videographer, photographer or blogger publishing interesting stuff linked to armed conflict, international humanitarian law (a.k.a. the law of armed conflict), innovation, compassion, history, etc. that you think deserves a shout-out here? Send us a link and we might feature your content next week. Write to: nclark (at) icrc (dot) org

**The usual Intercross disclaimer: Just because something is featured here, doesn't mean we endorse or agree with it, and the views expressed on the platforms we're highlighting don't necessarily represent those of the ICRC. **