Saving lives in one of the world’s most dangerous countries

Content provided by APO Group. CNBC Africa provides content from APO Group as a service to its readers, but does not edit the articles it publishes. CNBC Africa is not responsible for the content provided by APO Group.
Download logo

Millions in Somalia need humanitarian aid because of extreme weather conditions and conflict. However, relief work is difficult and dangerous in a country that has been ravaged by armed conflict for almost 30 years

The UN warns that more than 1.2 million people will experience crisis levels of hunger by the end of the year unless humanitarian aid is dramatically increased. Over six million people, almost half of Somalia's population, may be faced with food shortages.

Sixty percent of Somalia's population depends on agriculture or livestock such as sheep, goats, camels and cattle. They live a pastoralist life where they move their animals across long distances to find pasture and water. These communities are extremely vulnerable to the effects of climate change, which has compounded the effects of several drought and flooding-related disasters in recent years.

In 2011, more than a quarter of a million people died from famine caused by severe drought. Armed conflict in the country added to the high number of deaths because aid organisations could not access some areas where people were starving.

When drought hit again in 2017, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) and other humanitarian organisations managed to prevent the disaster from becoming as severe as in 2011. However, hundreds of thousands of people have still been forced to give up their traditional way of life to access support available in and around the larger cities. According to figures by the UNHCR and NRC-led Protection Returns and Monitoring Network (PRMN), 273,000 people were displaced by flooding in October alone, the vast majority in the Baladweeyne area due to the flooding of the Shabelle river. This brings the total number of people displaced by a combination of drought, floods and conflict so far this year in Somalia to 575,000, adding to a population of 2.6 million that were already displaced within the country at the beginning of 2019.

Taking security seriously

NRC does everything we can to help people where they live so they are not forced to flee across long distances. However, there are major challenges to working in conflict-affected areas, and particularly one of the world’s most dangerous countries.

“It is a great responsibility to make sure all staff know how to deal with the security challenges,” says Stephen Akwabi, NRC’s Safety and Security Adviser in Somalia, “to make it possible to conduct relief work in a country where attacks and explosions occur every day, and where kidnapping of relief workers is always a real danger and possibility.”

By having robust security systems in place, NRC manages to reach people in some of Somalia’s more remote and conflict-affected areas.

Drilling wells to improve water supply

While extremely heavy rains in the latter half of October have subjected hundreds of thousands of Somali people to risk, loss and displacement caused by flooding, we saw some very different realities during our visit just one month prior. Then, we saw a country struggling with the impact of recurrent drought and learned that heavy seasonal rains in recent years have still not been sufficient to overcome the challenges for people needing consistent access to water.

We visited a village in the Qardho district of Puntland, several hours drive from the provincial capital Garowe. There, NRC has drilled three wells that provide water for pastoralists and internally displaced persons who have fled to the town.

Water drilling is important for mitigating the effects of climate change and drought. Even in arid areas there are groundwater reservoirs, but this often requires drilling down 200 to 300 meters. Wherever possible, NRC uses solar energy to pump up the water. The water is used by people living nearby and transported to areas that don’t have an adequate water supply.

“Before we got this well, we had to walk up to 15 km to get water for the animals. Most of my animals died because of the drought. We didn’t have enough water for ourselves either and often walked 24 hours without anything to drink. We've had a lot of trouble in recent years, but life has gotten a lot better after we got this well,” says Hali Said Jamal. Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Norwegian Refugee Council.

Related Content

AfDB forecasts Africa’s growth in 2021

Updated forecasts from the African Development Bank show that Africa’s growth is expected to rebound to 3 per cent by 2021 from a 3.4 per cent contraction in 2020 in the worst-case-scenario. Hanan Morsy, Director for Macroeconomic Forecasting and Research at the AfDB joins CNBC Africa for more.

City Lodge faces resistance to its R1.2bn rights issue. Here’s why

In the wake of COVID-19 many listed companies have offered rights issues in order to raise capital during these trying times, but according to Oasis Asset Management there are good and bad equity issuances. Joining CNBC Africa for more is Adam Ebrahim, CEO of Oasis Asset Management.

Surgo Foundation: Why a young population is Africa’s best defence against coronavirus

Africa’s young population is the best defence against the COVID-19 pandemic, as the COVID-19 mortality rate for key populations has shown age as a factor for hospitalizations. This is according to the latest study by the Africa COVID-19 Community Vulnerability Index; CNBC Africa spoke to Dr. Sema Sgaier, Executive Director at the Surgo Foundation for more.

Professor Shabir Madhi gives update on SA’s first COVID-19 vaccine trials

It’s been almost three weeks since South Africa’s first COVID-19 vaccine trials began, we will be unpacking more on the progress of these trials as well as the latest emerging evidence brought to the attention of the World Health Organization regarding the airborne transmission of COVID-19. Joining CNBC Africa for more is Shabir Madhi, Professor of Vaccinology at the University of Witwatersrand.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Sign up for free newsletters and get more CNBC AFRICA delivered to your inbox

More from CNBC Africa

African born Billionaire Elon Musk’s net worth zooms past Warren Buffett’s

The blistering rally also puts Musk in reach of a payday potentially worth $1.8 billion, his second jackpot from the electric car maker in about two months.

U.S. sets record for new COVID cases third day in a row at over 69,000

“If we don’t adopt this best practice it could lead to a shutdown of business,” the Republican governor told local KLBK-TV in Lubbock, adding it was the last thing he wanted.

South Africa set to make SAA funding commitment, official says

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - The South African government is “on course” to provide a funding commitment for the restructuring of loss-making South African...

Akinwumi Adesina pays tribute to Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly

A humble man. A selfless man. A faithful man. A shining light. We met and spoke together on several forums around the world: on the plane, at airports, in high level forums and summits. My impression of him was the same: calm; wise; insightful. A man of few words, whose every word was always well honed for impact. He spoke always from his heart. An he had a heart of gold.

Partner Content

Uber launches its largest region-wide initiative in partnership with Mastercard

Uber, in partnership with Mastercard to provide 120,000 free trips to frontline workers in MEA, including South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Ivory Coast...

Maktech’s Godwin Makyao: Now Is A Time of Entrepreneurial Opportunity in East Africa

As an executive decision-maker in both the telecommunications and tourism industries, Godwin Makyao could not have experienced a more diverse set of...

Trending Now

Congo justice minister resigns after judicial reform dispute

KINSHASA (Reuters) - The Democratic Republic of Congo’s Justice Minister Celestin Tunda tendered his resignation on Saturday in the wake of a...

Veteran Zimbabwe farmer pours cold water on $58 million mission from Belarus with love.

“Belarus tractors have never been known for their quality or power. They were never bought by Zimbabwe farmers in the past. Training up 1000 Zimbabwe farmers isn’t the answer.

Congo central bank keeps 2020 economic growth forecast at -2.4%

(Reuters) - The Democratic Republic of Congo’s central bank kept its 2020 economic growth forecast unchanged at -2.4% because of the uncertainty...

South Africa’s rand recovers but caution remains, stocks slip

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africa’s rand recovered in afternoon trade on Friday, after sliding earlier due to concerns about rising COVID-19 cases...
- Advertisement -