Water they say is life, free of cost like breathing air, but when the commodity becomes all you need to survive, rarely will the thoughts of even good food cross your mind. Not to mention any other basic human needs.
Such is the agony of millions of children, women and men in the eastern Somali land. Plants and animals equally face the dilemma, but how can the sunshine on those kneeling when it is not yet shining on those standing? Massive crop failures and animal losses are recorded yearly.
The rapid spread of diseases including cholera and diarrhoea. “Have you considered if your water was to become sunken into earth, then who could bring you flowing water”
The United Nations warned in March 2019 that 20 million people face the threat of famine in Somalia, Nigeria, South Sudan, and Yemen and that “the world is facing the worst humanitarian crisis’‘.
But how many times has the United Nations not warned of severe droughts running into a humanitarian crisis in Somalia? Even as recent as in May 2019. What difference do warnings make in a region shooting itself in the foot with dragging conflicts that destabilize the county every now and then?
Undoubtedly droughts are natural phenomena. Prolonged period of abnormally low rainfall leading to water shortages. This, however, occurs in several parts of the world although the intensity may differ. So why is that of Somalia worrying? The land is entangled in nature’s web of seasonal droughts as a result of two seasons of no rainfall.
It is so intense that life is unbearable in most affected areas, causing an acute shortage of food because of crops failure and animal death. This even caused many to evacuate the areas.
However, the incessant conflicts that spring up in these areas due to the constant struggles between successive Somali governments and Al Shabaab, to end terrorism and to create conditions for peace, defeats the efforts to reach the most affected. It’s been over 25 long years of conflict in Somalia. Clearly, not just the drought but the conflicts exacerbate the situation.
Rainfall remains an uncontrollable factor in the Somali crisis equation and the struggle for peace keeps dangling, while millions of lives are just on the crossroads of death, as if waiting for it. Refugees are being refused entry into other countries all over the world. How is the world expecting these innocent women and children to survive? And on who does the onus lie?
A disease that affects one part of the body indirectly affects other parts too. This is an African proverb that originates from the Akans in Ghana. Although the international community is pushing in aid, the crisis must be faced head-on. Efforts must be intensified to uproot or neutralize the growing conflict others are taking advantage of.