This article discusses why the next climate change disaster could be in Somaliland.

It is often said that climate change will hurt the world’s poorest people first. Nowhere is that potentially truer than in Somaliland, an unrecognized state in the Horn of Africa sandwiched between an expanding desert and the Red Sea. A prolonged drought has killed 70 percent of the area’s livestock in the past three years, devastating the region’s pastoral economy and forcing tens of thousands of families to flee their grazing land for urban camps, according to authorities.

“We used to have droughts before. We used to name the droughts, but they would be 10 or 15 years apart,” says Shukri Ismail Bandare, minister of environment and rural development. “Now it is so frequent that people cannot cope with it.”

Somaliland has endured regular cycles of drought for the past 20 years that have intensified since 2015 as consecutive rains have failed. The impact has been catastrophic for the nation of 3.5 million people, where livestock farming accounts for about 70 percent of economic activity. According to the U.N., 4.2 million people in Somaliland and neighboring Somalia will require food assistance next year.


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