January 15, 2016

You’ll have no doubt noticed the yo-yoing temperatures across the US in recent months, as unusually warm weather has given way to freezing conditions, and changed back again overnight.

These shifts are part of a pattern that is being seen around the world. Yesterday there were reports of the first January-born hurricane since 1938 and tropical storm Pali has formed over the Pacific – again, unusual for this time of the year. But while some parts of the world are seeing storms, snow and even heavy flooding, in East Africa, a rapidly worsening drought crisis is proving a major threat to millions of people living in the region.

Changing climate hitting poor communities hardest

While our response to changing temperatures here at home may be just to move the thermostat up or down a few degrees, the changing climate is proving disastrous for farming communities in places like Somaliland, which like its neighbor, Ethiopia, is one of the worst hit areas.

A lack of seasonal rains, has resulted in shortages of food and fodder across the region, with the situation expected to get worse over the coming months.

Levels of food and water are getting dangerously low, with infections starting to spread, and women, children and the elderly most vulnerable.

A period of prolonged drought means water levels in Somaliland are very low. Photo: ActionAid

Back in August, the Government of Somaliland declared a drought crisis, but 6 months on, communities are ill-prepared to deal with a crisis they did not cause.

With the region’s biggest harvest of the year due for collection in the middle of the year, the situation will get much worse if seasonal rains don’t arrive.

ActionAid has already distributed food and water to 400 families in Somaliland. We’ve delivered sacks of wheat flour, rice, sugar and cooking oils – all staple foods that local communities need to survive. We’ve provided milk powder for families with infants, and of course, water – lots of water!

ActionAid is making sure urgent food and water supplies reach communities in Somaliland. Photo: ActionAid

Thanks to this kind of support, these 400 families will survive the drought, but they don’t want to be reliant on handouts. In neighboring Ethiopia, communities supported by ActionAid are using new farming methods to feed themselves and their families, even in the midst of a growing national famine.

With your support, we can build long lasting change for communities like these around the world.