Heather Amstutz and Audrey Crawford, DRC Somalia Country Director, visited Dollow in Gedo, where a number of people affected by the drought have sought refuge in recent weeks, either in pre-existing IDP sites or in spontaneous settlements. According to IOM, 2,000 households have moved to the two existing IDP sites since October 2021 – up to 40 households per day.
The current drought gripping Somalia, which has seen three successive rainy seasons fail, is being compared by elders in Doolow to the ‘Da Bader’ drought of 1974, which devastated the pastoralists communities in the area. As with the 1974 drought, the current conditions have a dramatic impact on pastoralist communities and their livelihoods, further stretching the limited resources available to the local communities.
DRC provides drought response - but upscaling is needed
Heather Amstutz noted the influx of newly displaced into Doolow, monitored and documented by DRC protection teams.
“As an organisation, we will continue to respond to the drought conditions in the country as well as increase our investments into sustainable livelihoods and the diversification of incomes to vulnerable communities. There are no shortcuts when it comes to dealing with the effects of droughts, but only long-term sustainable projects,” she adds.
Audrey Crawford warns that “the displacements induced by drought are expected to peak in February and March, while the spike in mortality is expected to be in April 2022. Resources need to come now and not tomorrow in order for humanitarian actors to respond to the worsening situation in the country and save lives. As DRC we are responding to the drought and its consequences on displacement, meeting the urgent daily survival needs of families. The response, however, needs to be scaled up.”