Says religion minister while urging politicians not to capitalize on the catastrophe
By: Yusuf M Hasan
Somalilandsun- Over half the total population of Somaliland is straining from impact of severe drought.
This is per the minister of religious affairs Sheikh Khalil Abdilahi Ahmed who is a member of the national drought relief committee during a briefing to The Horn Tribune Newspaper in Hargeisa.
“I urged concerted national efforts towards alleviating livelihood difficulties being encountered by over 500,000 families in our country” said Sheikh Khalil adding that the difficulties are being felt in almost every part of the country.
While acknowledging that Somaliland was in a campaign mood as related to presidential elections slated late this March, the religious minister urged all to desist from politicizing drought and in lieu pursue avenues to alleviate difficulties among citizens they hope to get votes from.
Revealing that the national drought relief committee is expending a huge amount of drought relief funds on transportation, the minister appealed for full tanks fueled trucks from affluent citizens
Said he, “while our committee in partnership with the government is doing its best to alleviate the situation in most drought affected areas, the individual support with transportation shall make things much better”
Justifying his appeal for support with transport, minister Khalil gave an example of the $700,000 expended by the drought committee to transport relief supplies recently donated by Turkey.
Divulging statistics of the catastrophe, minister Khalil revealed that both Gabile and Awdal regions are host to 40,000 drought displaced families from the east of the country, adding that “Salahley and Faraweine districts of Maroodi-jeeh (Hargeisa) region are also home to other 8,000 families seeking drought succor from the east.
Queried on allegations that the national drought relief committee is not acting as expected the Somaliland religious affairs minister said “ People who can not walk their talk can be forgiven their negative sentiments, since the committee’s activities are discernible to all”
Though he brushed of the negative sentiments minister Sheikh Khalil Abdilahi Ahmed said the severity of the drought in many parts of the country especially the east might lead one to think that nothing is being done.
“ While appealing for continued drought relief support from all quarters it is also worth commending the committee on what it has done so far despite limited supplies” said Minister Khalil
In conclusion the religious affairs minister entreated Allah to alleviate Somalilanders and others from the wider Horn of Africa from severe drought effects that has not only dried up water sources but decimated livestock the livelihoods mainstay.