THOUSANDS AT RISK OF MALNUTRITION IN SOOL AREA
NAIROBI, 10 October (IRIN)
Thousands of people in northern Somalia are in need of urgent humanitarian assistance due to falling incomes and rising malnutrition, a food security watchdog has warned.
According to the US government's Famine Early Warning System Network
(FEWS), about 11,170 pastoralist households in the Sool Plateau are at
The gu (April-June) rains largely failed in the area, and while the
better-off households migrated with their animals to other areas, the poor
households were left behind.
"After four years of successive rain failures, poor livestock productivity
and significant livestock losses, pastoralist households face fewer
options for obtaining food and income," the FEWS report said.
It was estimated that over 50 percent of livestock had died over the past
four years, meaning that incomes had dropped by half, as the marketability
and prices of animals declined.
"Poor households increasingly resort to extreme coping mechanisms (such as
culling new-born calves to save the mothers) and environmental degradation
(particularly cutting trees for charcoal making), which further weakens
their livelihood base," the report pointed out.
It warned that malnutrition was likely to worsen as households diverted
food expenditures for increasingly expensive water.
An inter-agency assessment team is visiting the area this week.
A Somali agronomist told IRIN the problems in the Sool Plateau are
complicated by the fact that the area is claimed by both the self-declared
republic of Somaliland and the self-declared autonomous region of
The region falls geographically within Somaliland, but most of the clans
who live there are associated with neighbouring Puntland.