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Home » Somalia: Climate change and conflict threaten herders [EN/AR]

Somalia: Climate change and conflict threaten herders [EN/AR]

Somalia: Climate change and conflict threaten herders [EN/AR]

Conflict and the growing climate crisis are pushing herders in Somalia to abandon their way of life, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has warned.

Erratic weather patterns, droughts and floods have taken their toll on Somali pastoralists, while conflict, COVID-19 and the recent locust infestations have made matters worse.

Stark new footage from the East African nation lays bare the struggles facing herders. Ahmed Mohamud, a herder, said he has lost 50 of his 70 camels while other herders have lost all their livestock.

“There’s no food. The ground is dry,” he said. “This country is known for its refugees. If you lose your animals, you sign up as a refugee, that's what we say. So, there are many people who lost their animals and signed up as refugees.”

Dwindling herds have become commonplace as vegetation, a source of food for the animals, becomes harder to find.

The recurrent nature of climatic shocks, such as droughts and floods, mean herders have little chance to recover. The instability created by conflict further weakens their ability to adapt and find alternative grazing areas.

Mohamed Hassan Gure, another herder, said: “The latest drought, 2021, is the one that destroyed the animals. Before they recovered from the previous drought they were hit by others. Like the locusts. The locusts ate the pastures.

“So the animals did not get anything to eat and that is how they died. There was nothing to give them. They didn't have anything to feed on. We were left with 50 animals. Out of the 50, 30 were killed by the rains. Now 20 are left.”

He added: “Only God knows, but we wonder whether our way of life is in danger. If the droughts continue and the animals get fewer, this way of life is in real danger.”

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