Drought dries up hope for residents

Dry, caked mud is all that is left of an underground water pan in the drought-stricken Baligubadle village near Hargeisa, the capital city of Somaliland.

This region on the southern coast of the Gulf of Aden has seen very little rainfall in the past three years. This has had a devastating effect on the population of just under four million.

The government has only meagre resources at its disposal, and relies on livestock exports for more than 70 per cent of its income.

Pastures are continuing to dry up, with more than half of Somali- land's 18 million livestock estimated to have succumbed to the drought so far.

Hounded by thirst and malnutrition daily, residents are pinning their hopes on seasonal rains known as Gu, which usually arrive next month.

However, if that fails, the world will soon have a massive humanitarian crisis on its hands, aid agencies warned.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 18, 2017, with the headline 'Drought dries up hope for residents'. Print Edition | Subscribe