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Stranded pastoralists regret migrating to Nugal village

Tuesday March 14, 2023


(ERGO) – Sahra Hassan Abdi and her seven children are stranded in a drought-hit village in Nugal in Somalia’s Puntland state, 170 kilometres away from home, without any food or resources nor money to get back.

Last September, Sahra joined many families in trekking to Doonta in Burtinle district, where people had heard of rainfall and expected to find water and livestock fodder.

newsinsdeSahra and family walked with her camel from El-Lahelay in Mudug, central Somalia, but finding the grazing and water in the area were almost gone, she had to sell off the camel before reaching their destination.

The $450 she made from the sale of her camel lasted them until February. Now they are in Doonta with their last 20 skinny goats, wondering how to survive.

“We can’t go back because we don’t have anything to take us back. We don’t have vehicles or the fare to take us back,” she told Radio Ergo.

They live in a small shack she built in Doonta among many other destitute pastoralist families also stranded. She wakes up early and tries to find food from her neighbours in the area.

“We never get enough to eat. We have sold all the livestock we can sell. We even sold our camel that we used to fetch water, so we don’t have that now. People including your relatives might give you something once or twice but they soon stop even if they are rich,” she explained.

The local authorities in the village give them 200 litres of water a week, which is not enough for her family and livestock. Six goats died in the last two weeks due to lack of water and fodder.

She can only hope some of her goats survive until the next rainy season so they can be of value.

“We don’t have plans of moving, but I hope it rains through God’s mercy. Either I will auction off my livestock and go to the city and start working, or they will be able to multiply and I will return to our own area. I have those two hopes,” she told Radio Ergo.

Another pastoralist, Abdirahman Dhubad Abdi, his wife and three children, also moved to Doonta from their village of Qorile, 200 kilometres away in Mudug. He hoped to save his 200 goats from the drought, although few of them are left.

“It is just those 25 goats that are battling against time and could die. If we decided to move with them, they wouldn’t get far. We don’t have the transport fare and we can’t afford it,” said Abdirahman.

He now thinks that they made a big mistake in migrating to Doonta, where they have not seen any rainfall and times are hard.

“If you live in your home area, you can get food from the local people or get something on credit. Here there is no one to offer loans to us,” he said.

They depend on their neighbours for food and sometimes stay hungry for 24 hours. He spent $300 moving his family and livestock to Doonta. They cannot afford the journey back home.

The commissioner of Doonta, Roble Ismail Warsame, told Radio Ergo, they have set up a new transitional IDP camp for the 150 drought-hit families who arrived there from Bari, Mudug, and other parts of Nugal seeking fodder and water.

“The people live in small houses made of small plastic sheets that we got from Burtinle. 100 families were already living here and 150 new families came from Mudug and Nugal regions and more people are coming,” he said.

The commissioner noted that they had no funds to help these families travel back to their own villages. He noted that they had spoken to Puntland administration about the challenges but had received no response.


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