- The so-called deyr rainfall is reported to have totally failed in Somaliland and northern Somalia. Food and nutrition agencies fair that this may have "serious implications for pastoral populations" in this region, which is economically dependent on livestock.
Deyr rains usually commence at the end of September in Somaliland and northern Somalia and then gradually move down to central and southern Somalia. This year, deyr rains however began late and out of sequence in southern Somalia, largely failed in the central and northern regions and Somaliland.
According to the latest Somalia report of the US agency Famine Early Warning Systems (FEWS), the deyr rainfall has "largely failed" in Somalia's central and northern regions - which include the whole of the self-declared republic of Somaliland. "An unfavourable start of the deyr season looks likely to fail in northern and central Somalia," FEWS concludes.
- Such a failure would have serious implications for pastoral populations, FEWS warns. "Where deyr rains fail, the number of food insecure households will increase as both livestock and crop production will reduce," the US agency adds in its report. In southern Somalia, deyr rainfall had been observed, but was reported to have been "patchy".
So-called "abnormal migratory movements" by livestock herders in Somaliland and northern Somalia had already been observed. Due to below normal deyr rainfall, pastoral migratory patterns were now increasingly limited in the region, however. Field reports had indicated that pastoralists had now ventured into Ethiopia's Somali region, where conditions "are not much better, if at all."
All in all, the US agency warns that the implications of the deyr failure on food security "are alarming" in both northern Somalia and Somaliland. In the Sool district - which is disputed between Somaliland and the neighbouring Somali province of Puntland - the population was already facing "serious food shortages," according to FEWS.
The Sool Plateau was now experiencing a drought that was "the longest and most severe dry spell (over three years) since 1981," an analysis had shown. Elders in the area even hold that it is "the worst since 1974." Analyses of the plateau show a dramatic drop in the vegetation cover of this agricultural and pastoral region.
On Somali markets, sorghum prices had already risen by 20 percent between September and October this year and by an average of 15 percent in most markets since October last year, FEWS had registered. "These price increases can be attributed to uncertainty over deyr production" and to last year's poor production in Somalia's main sorghum producing regions. Maize prices had followed a similar trend as sorghum.
FEWS was also concerned about the consequences of the recent killing of three aid workers in Somaliland, which had "created an atmosphere of uncertainty over the continuation of certain aid programmes" in this otherwise stable country.
In light of these recent killings, the Somaliland authorities issued an order to all non Somalilanders to leave the country within 45 days commencing on 23 October. It is estimated that 5-10% of the current inhabitants in Somaliland, mainly in the urban centres, originate from Ethiopia or other parts of Somalia.
- If the expulsion order is implemented, it is likely that the livelihoods of this group will suffer as their income levels drop, which would subsequently have a detrimental impact on remittance levels in other areas, FEWS warns.
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