By M.A. Egge
HARGEISA (Somalilandsun) – The VP H.E. Abdirahman Abdillahi Ismael Seyli’i has underscored the fact that about 20,000 families in Awdal and Selel regions need emergency relief aid and has been severely affected by the famine caused by the several-seasons-long dry spells that has hit across the country.
The VP was talking to our sister paper Dawan in a telephone interview on Wednesday while leading relief efforts to alleviate the hunger and thirst in the north-western parts of the country due to the severe droughts.
He said that the situation and the plight of the people were even compounded by the fact that the numbers of those famine stricken families who lost their livestock across the borders from Ethiopia has overwhelmed the rural centres especially along the coastal areas.
“We have seen people in grave situations whereby mothers suckling their toddlers being in a sorry state”, said the VP while describing the sad scenario being in a sorry state.
In trying to describe how serious the situation is in relation to how much livestock have perished, the VP said that the number of vehicles carrying the weakened displaced people were three times more than that of their entire livestock.
“To underpin the extent of livestock that have perished and how the people have been affected, out of 20 vehicles we used 15 to repatriate the people and 5 to carry what was left of their entire livestock”, said the VP.
A pastoral family traditionally has dozens, if not hundreds of livestock.
The VP said that initially they had planned to supply the relief aid to the stricken populace and transport them back to wherever they were displaced from, but that they changed their mind after seeing the situation on the ground.
“Most of them are to weak to survive transportation and they all claim that they have nothing to go back to”, said the VP and added, “In the reflection of such situation we have to aid them wherever they were presently located”.
The VP said that those influences have overwhelmed the rural and town centres across the coast line and that less than 20% have gone back to wherever they initially exodused from.
On a probe from the reporter, the VP said that “up to now there is no Ethiopian or Djibouti aid that has reached us”. He said that they had supplied petroleum to help in water supplies which ought to run day and night for a fortnight.
“What we saw and what we thought are quite different”, said the VP who chairs the national emergency relief supplies efforts committee.
He said that the fact is about 20 thousand families are in the brink of perishing due to famine and are in a dire state of need.
He appealed once more to Somaliland business fraternity and from well-wishers abroad to eke in whatever support needed.