According to a UK-based charity, Save the Children, nearly three-quarters of Somali families lack drinking water. The situation will get dire as drought looms across the country and depletes the few wells that hold water. Many family’s dependent on the water from these wells fear the rising risk of hunger as crops fail and livestock dies.
Drought looms in Somalia and across eastern Africa
Countries across eastern Africa such as Somalia, Uganda, Ethiopia, and Kenya have been experiencing challenges dealing with climate change as drought looms. Coupled with increasingly erratic weather, the climate changes have taken a heavy toll on such countries. Moreover, these countries also experience recurring droughts and floods, which have become common in the regions.
Save the Children charity carried out a survey this year of more than 630 households in eight of Somalia`s 18 regions. The charity discovered a shortage of seasonal rain last year had left 70% of families without clean water. The charity`s country director Mohamud Mohamed said children were bearing the effects of the shortage of water due to a growing climate crisis. Mohamud warned that the water shortages could lead to increased hunger, exploitation, and displacement.
While they surveyed Somalia Save, the Children saw numerous wells drying up while different families tried to ration their water. Crops and pastures were dying, and in some regions, people had already started moving away from their communities. Families were already in search of water and food for their livestock. In some locations, the price of water had already skyrocketed. People in these locations revealed they could barely afford to pay for water. As this is the case, they were forced to use unsafe water sources. This is worrisome as unclean water is putting children at risk of deadly diseases such as cholera.
Climate change effects on Somalia
Save the Children published the results of the survey in Somalia on World Water Day. World Water Day is a day meant to raise awareness of the global water crisis. Additionally, the day is used to raise awareness of nations’ need to move towards an internationally agreed goal of providing water and sanitation for all by 2030.
According to the United Nations, about 2.2 billion people-one in three-globally do not have access to safe water. The U.N predicts that by 2050 up to 5.7 billion people could be living in areas where water is scarce. The United Nations says it will be this way due to growing populations, increasing demands for agriculture, and the worsening impacts of climate change.
So far, Somalia is highly vulnerable to extreme weather conditions. The country with 15 million people has suffered from numerous floods, and it saw its most powerful cyclone last year. Climate disasters caused hunger, malnutrition, insecurity, loss of lives, and displacements. Climate change is also taking a huge economic toll on Somalia. According to a government assessment, the damages caused by drought in 2018 totaled more than $3 billion. According to Abdullahi Ahmed, national technical consultant at the nation`s Environmental Directorate, this figure was equivalent to 50% of Somalia`s GDP. Abdullahi urged rich countries to do more to cut their carbon emissions.