What Next Somaliland as Horn Residents Protect Themselves Against Climate Change

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Damage caused by rain-induced floods in Hargeysa, Somaliland

Somalilandsun- The effects of resource consumption are being felt the world over, but few places are feeling the effects as acutely as the Horn of Africa.

Earlier this year, the New York Times noted how drying is the fastest in 2,000 years in the region, causing huge problems with food shortages and drought. To compound matters, wet weather events like storms are massively destructive, with Storm Luban fresh in the memory.

The increasing incidence of extreme weather events creates a problem for authorities in the region and for local people. For Somaliland residents, much can be done to try and keep the power of nature at bay. Long term, governmental and international schemes are a must.

Adapting the home to extreme weather

In the Horn of Africa, the effects of climate change are twofold. There is a consistent need to defend against the effects of excessive heat and depressed rain levels, and preparation required for the big storms as they arrive.

The WMO have provided ideas for one such scheme, providing support for smallholders in Somalia. A large part of this scheme is through augmenting houses; by providing features to mitigate weather like guttering, guards and sandbags, the average home can have a degree of protection rather than facing total destruction. Putting these adaptations into place as a standard will be important for the future.

The usage of the home will also be crucial to mitigating climate change. Having supplies of water ready and rationed in the correct manner will turn the havoc of a storm into a benefit during drought. Likewise, using the relative calm offered by dry periods, despite the toughness of heat, provides ample time to prepare for future events.

Fighting climate change in Somaliland

Looking to the government

If every home can make efforts to mitigate the climate change problem, it will bring direct benefits to homeowners and help society as a whole. Arguably, however, larger scale change is mandatory to ensure the long-term well-being of the area. Authorities in the Horn region are aware of this, and are putting in schemes to that effect. Muse Bihi Abdi has put in various measures to help the country become more sustainable, like focusing on sea-bound resources rather than the land, and looking to improve citizen-by-citizen sustainability.

While a small step, it nods towards acceptance of the problem and a better future through mitigation. This way, the efforts of private citizens can be matched by ministers and the climate change question given some serious answers.

Climate change is destructive across the world, but areas of the Horn of Africa feel it acutely. From droughts to storms, weather is never kind to the region. Preparing for the future is not just the responsibility of the state, but of citizens, too.

By: Jane Sandwood

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