Three decades of armed conflict, plus climate change, plus rising fuel prices is a crushing burden for Somalis.
The ripple effect of the conflict in Ukraine pushing fuel prices up is breaking the local market. Abdinur Ali, 33, runs a taxi business in Galkacyo. He is worried he won’t be able to keep up with the costs if the trend continues. “Before, 20 liters of fuel cost $15. It costs $28 now. Prices keep going up by the day. We are considering parking our cars or even selling them,” he says.
Halwa Osman, 25, who sells groceries at the Galkacyo market, is forced to pass on the rising costs to her customers, many of them struggling to make ends meet. “We sell small bundles of onions, mango, oranges, and tomatoes. What used to be the cost of 10 bundles of assorted fruit and vegetables now only gets you three bundles,” she says.
Millions of Somalis who hoped for the March-May rainy season to alleviate the hardship caused by the prolonged drought are bitterly disappointed. The moderate rains that fell cannot make up for the three consecutive failed rainy seasons. “There is a lack of water. There is no food. The drought is hitting us hard. We are finished if someone doesn’t come to our rescue,” says 51-year-old Kaha Ahmed in Elgule village. She lost 83 goats to the drought and has only 17 left.
“Drought is not new to Somalia, but it happens more frequently now and it affects more severely than it used to…We also have seen and still keep seeing displacement caused by armed conflict,” says Juerg Eglin, the head of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Somalia.
The ICRC provides cash assistance to people trapped in the grip of armed violence and weather shocks. 55,500 families received $90 each last month. Inflation is decreasing the value of this support and it may need to be increased.
With the Somali Red Crescent Society, the ICRC has been supporting families affected by the drought. Nearly 300,000 people have benefitted from repaired water points. In addition, six emergency mobile health clinics provide health and nutrition support to families in remote areas with no access to healthcare.