Eldeere, 16 February 2022 (TDI): It gets drier and dustier as one travels through Burao town and onto a dirt road that leads to a village 350 kilometres east of Somaliland’s capital, Hargeisa. The landscape becomes more dry and dusty as one moves along the road.

According to residents, the hamlet and its environs have been experiencing a prolonged dry season for the last three months, resulting in the drying of water pans and boreholes and the devastation of grassland. They also notice that more and more families are coming from places like Geelwar to get help.

The rains were insufficient; wells and water pans quickly dried out, as did pastures. There are rising signs of desperation, and more people are entering, says Harir Diriye, a village committee member.

People in the eastern regions of Toghdeer, Sool, and Sanag are having to deal with water shortages and the loss of livestock that have been their lifeblood for years.

Additionally, the analysis indicates that rainfall levels have decreased over the last three years, making these locations among the driest in the Horn of Africa. In 2017, a terrible drought caused a lot of animals to die and a lot of people to move to the townships, where they lived in makeshift camps while they waited for help.

Hoodo Hussein is one of those who have been relocated. The 24-year-old mother of four arrived in Eldeere from Geelwar village, around 80 kilometres away. She travelled in mid-January with her children, mother, and grandmother. They were forced to evacuate, she said, due to a lack of food and water.

Her hamlet had been severely impacted by the ongoing drought, and her cattle had been forced to travel greater distances in search of water and pasture. She lost 120 goats and was left with five females, which she was able to transport aboard the truck they boarded.

She and her family no longer receive regular support and rely on the generosity of the local populace. “We are fortunate to receive one meal per day,” she explains.

Hussein’s plight is emblematic of the tens of thousands of families who live in the vast dry regions of Togdheer, Sool, and Sanag. Droughts have been wreaking havoc on people’s lives and businesses all over the Horn of Africa. Many of them are newcomers.

Noor Saleeban of Gure village appears clearly fatigued and defeated following his fruitless attempt to obtain drinking water from a dry riverbed. The father of six stays still and looks at the empty water jerry cans tied to the animals with a mournful expression.

He says that he walks for hours since daybreak in the hope of obtaining water for his family. He is left with a few frail animals incapable of trekking for an extended period. “I also desired to bring them water.

I’ve been here four hours; the wells and pans are completely dry. There’s only one place where three families are trying to get their hands on the water below, he said.

According to Noor, cattle are their sole source of income, and the drought has lowered their market value.

UNICEF is increasing its assistance as the drought intensifies. UNICEF collaborates with government, local government, and non-governmental organization (NGO) partners to expand integrated health and nutrition services, particularly through mobile health and nutrition teams that provide healthcare and nutrition services to vulnerable communities and internally displaced people.