I went to Somaliland, the north western part of Somalia, back in November this year. Going across this arrid region, I witnessed the droughts that are now destroying a centuries-old way of life, that of semi-nomadic herders.
November rains that were expected to ease the hunger crisis in East Africa have failed yet again in some of the worst hit areas, including Somaliland. The worsening of the conflict and the drought has left 3.6 million people - nearly half of the country's population - in need of aid.
The people I met in Somaliland told me they have lost 70-80 per cent of their animals. Some initial rainfall in early October brought signs of hope, but after only a few weeks the rain stopped again in many of the driest and most vulnerable areas.
Meet some of the people and places of Somaliland:
Balli Hiile village, Togdheer region, Somaliland
Abdilahi Ahmed Ali, 85 years old, Balli Hiile. Abdilahi, 85, is an elder in Balli Hiile; "When I look at the landscape now, I think of hungriness" he says, looking out at the parched land surrounding him. "When I was a boy, the village was green. When the rains don't come we think it's some kind of punishment."
Women skin a goat to feed the village. Herders leave goats behind to feed their families until their return. They have left with their herds in search of rain and fodder.
Safia Hussein Ibrahim, Ununley village. Over the last ten years, Safia has witnessed the deterioration of human and animal health as semi desert now stretches for miles around Ununley. "We see the change in the weather, but we can't do anything."
Basteya Farah Hassan, Ununley village. Basteya came to Ununley after fleeing the war in southern Somalia.
With a local partner called Candlelight, Oxfam has been working on water and soil conservation projects.
Saleban Yussuf Noor, 75, Ununley village. In four years, Ununley has lost 80% of its livestock, forcing many to leave the village and beg in nearby towns. "When I was young," said Saleban, "I owned 500 sheep and goats. Now my family of eleven owns barely 30."
Muhammed Yassin Abdel Llahi, Ununley. Muhammed clearly does not want to leave the village. "What would we do? Beg? For now, we can only pray for rain. With a few days of rain, everything can be good again," he told me.
Oxfam has launched an emergency appeal for funding to help the poorest communities affected by the crisis, including in Somaliland. For more information visit www.oxfam.org.uk
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