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Declare drought national disaster and lead the cause, clergy, civil society tell government

Storyline:National News

Civil Society, religious leaders and the national disaster management commission have called on the government to declare the ongoing drought in Somalia a national disaster and set up emergency aid coordination centres countrywide.

Speaking during the inaugural radio talk show to mobilise support for drought victims by Goobjoog News sister station Goobjoog Fm Wednesday night, the leaders urged the government to take immediate action to alleviate suffering and death being witnessed in various parts of the country.

National Disaster Management Commission chair Abdullahi Mohammad Jima’ale said the country was facing one of the most difficult period in its history and remedies have to be put in place to ease the suffering. “We are facing one of the most severe periods in the country’s history. We need to mobilise resources now and deploy emergency aid to the affected regions,” said Jima’ale.

The severity of the drought has led to the drying up of the perennial Shebelle River leading to crop failure in areas along Middle and Lower Shabelle, and Hiiraan regions.

Goobjoog News correspondents in Middle Shabelle and Hiiraan regions say the situation is dire in many villages with cases of deaths among locals reported. Farmers have also lost their livestock and crops failed.

The government last week formed an emergency response taskforce headed by the Interior Minister and involving about six ministries.

The head of clerics association in Somalia Sheikh Nour Barud Gurhan called on the Federal government to take immediate action and lead the campaign instead of leaving the responsibility to non state actors alone.

“I learnt that some pregnant women died in Middle Shabelle region because of lack of water. This is a threat to lives and the government must take the front row in dealing with this crisis,” said Gurhan.

Civil Society chairman Abduallahi Mohammed Shirwac stressed the need for extensive campaigns in order to rope in many donors locally and internationally to support the affected community. “The media can play this important role of mobilising resources and educating people to take active role in helping those in need. I call upon every citizen of this country to take part in this campaign,” said Shirwac.

Federal MP Abe Ahmed Adan said time was fast running out and that immediate action must be put in place to avoid more deaths and suffering.

Goobjoog Fm listeners thanked the station for championing the campaign. Goobjoog Fm and Goobjoog News last year pioneered the Gurmad and Gargar campaign which raised $100,000 to evacuate Somalis trapped in the Yemen war.