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Man Filling In Containers And Watering Camel In The Desert Well Degehabur Area Somaliland

Man Filling In Containers And Watering Camel In The Desert Well Degehabur Area Somaliland

Reportedly the worst one in sixty years, the drought that currently affects the horn of Africa already lead millions of people from most-affected Somalia to flee to neighboring Kenya and Ethiopia. Although this time the catastrophe owes to particularly bad weather condition (a succession of very hot seasons and flash floods with very scarce water in 2011) to have reached this extent, this kind of climate change patterns have already been observed over the past few years. Combined to socio-economic factors –like livestock overgrazing, deforestation and poor cropping methods, broadly used by agro-based African population– it has disastrous effects on the natural environment, that reflect in food security, human health and economic activity.
Several international organizations, as well as countries of the European Union and the rest of Africa have already brought their help to those affected by starvation. Let’s recall that food and water shortages are frequent in Somali Al-Shabaab rebel-controlled areas. However, the latent warfare that Somalia has been experiencing for several years remains an important cause of famine.

Formerly a British colony, Somaliland briefly reached its independence in 1960. It is one of the three Territories, with Puntland and former Italian Somalia that compose the current State of Somalia.
Somaliland proclaimed its independence in 1991, adopting its own currency, a fully independent government, working institutions and police. The authorities organized a referendum in 2001, advocating once again for full independence. However, to date, it is not internationally recognized.
Ethiopian Prime minister Meles Zenawi is the only one to speak about a Somalilander president, recognizing implicitly the existence of an independent State. Indeed the economy of neighboring Ethiopia dramatically depends on Somaliland stability, since the landlocked country’s main trade route passes through the Somalilander port of Berbera… And vice-versa, the economy of Somaliland largely depends on the taxes and duties it charges Ethiopia. Besides that, the principal economic activity of Somaliland is livestock exportation to the Arabian Peninsula. Most people are Sunni Muslims and speak Arabic, as well as some Somali dialect and many of them, English.Lastely, the East African demography being based on clan alliances, it is no surprise that the frontiers drawn by the colonists don’t match the ethnic divisions of territory, leading to open clashes. More broadly, this problem is recurrent across the African continent.

© Eric Lafforgue

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Photo taken on 18 November 2011 (© Eric Lafforgue / Flickr)

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