By: Latifa Yusuf Masai
Somalilandsun – The Somaliland drought relief fundraising decreed by President Ahmed Mahmud Silanyo has received the full support of local journalists
This was revealed by the Chairman of the Somaliland Journalists Association-SOLJA Mahmud Abdi Jama ‘Huto’ during a briefing to Somalilandsun in Hargeisa where he also revealed that a hefty contribution from his body’s members is in the works.
“We as the fourth estate not only support the presidential decree turning 18th May Independence Day festivities into drought relief fundraising but shall as a body actively participate” said Chairman Huto.
Stating that the main contribution from members of his body is not financial but information based Mahmud Huto revealed that all SOLJA branches nationwide are actively involved with functions of the national 18 May Drought relief committee hence profusion of related news to the public.
Said he, “As from 18th May to 26th June 2017 SOLJA affiliated media Houses be it newspapers, Television or Websites shall be reporting on the drought relief fundraising activities that target $10m in that duration”
While committing to ensuring that timely information about the drought relief fundraiser being undertaken locally and abroad is disbursed to the public the SOLJA boss was emphatic that accruing funds and materials should be utilized in the right way.
According to Huto the severity of the drought has resulted in massive displacement of citizens mostly in the eastern parts of the country, death to millions of livestock not to mention destruction to farm and pasture lands.
This being the current status Huto stressed on the fact that rather than distribution of foodstuffs and water which are short term long term strategies are imperative thence successfully drought effects alleviation.
The fourth estate top honcho opinionated that the major input expected from the national drought relief committee was urgent resettlement of all the internally displaced families.
Stressing that resettlement was the first priority nationwide Huto was also emphatic that mere return facilitation of the IDPs was not enough.
“It is also very important that the returnees mostly from rural areas be availed means of basic survival having been left destitute by the prolonged drought” said Huto adding that the strategies needed to achieve this include
Urgent restocking of livestock for the pastoral families who according to reports have lost 75% of all their assorted stocks be it camels, cows, goats or sheep.
Similarly the agro pastoralists also require assistance in developing their farmlands through supply of seeds, fertilizers and other related agricultural necessities.
For Huto these support to the pastoralists and farmers in Somaliland are mid short term strategies thence sustainable ones also need attention was basic semblance of life has been re-established.
Accordingly the SOLJA chairperson Mahmud Abdi Jama Huto recommends that expedited availability of clean sufficient water be made possible through construction of not only watt catchments but that of water reservoirs as well as drilling of boreholes.
Similarly rangelands should be developed to ensure that livestock which is the country’s number economic milking cow have access to sufficient fodder whenever rains fail.
In conclusion Huto who stressed to his association’s members both individual and corporate the importance attached to drought relief campaign, said citizens of Somaliland depend on them for apt information devoid of partiality and produced in a professional manner.
Queried on when and how much SOLJA expects to contribute to the national drought relief kitty the Somaliland fourth estate association chairman Mahmud Abdi Jama Huto could not give a specific amount nor date
In the meantime 18th May Day passed in various styles nationwide though devoid of the regular pomp utilized in the country and in the diaspora to portray Somaliland nationalism.