Somalia

Rapid needs assessment in Abudwak, Galgadud region, Central Somalia: Assessment report, 6-11 Aug 2008

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Assessment
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Decision Making Summary

The district of Abudwak is located in northwest of Galgadud region in central Somalia. It is one of the eight districts in the region. Galgadud is the nationally recognised region with its headquarters in Dhusa-Mareb. The city of Abudwak is believed to be the largest commercial city in the whole of Galgadud region. It shares a borderline with the Somali region of Ethiopia. According to the locals, the population of the district is roughly around 220,000 including surrounding villages but UNDP puts the population number around 41,500. Most of these people are pastoralists herding camels, cattle and goats. Abudwak and surrounding area is red sandy with semi desert look. Further into the grazing lands near the border with Ethiopia's Somali Province, one finds forest and mountains where mostly camels are herded. The city's population has increased due to influx of people that fled from the fighting in Mugadishu.

In the recent years, food security situation in Abudwak and the entire Galgadud region have been deteriorating. According to FSAU, the region shifted from Generally Food Insecure (GFI) to Acute Food and Livelihood Crisis (AFLC). In its 2007/08 post deyr analysis, FSAU indicated that over 20,000 people in Galgadud region were in terrible Humanitarian Emergency. While 115,000 people were in Acute Food and Livelihood Crisis. 16,000 of this figure came from Abudwak. FSAU highlighted in its Deyr 07/08 analysis that the region is facing the impact of multiple shocks including successive seasons of below normal rains. Nutrition situation is also very critical, according to FSAU

The seasonal rain failures have caused water shortages in Abudwak forcing locals to engage in water trucking activities. Prolonged drought is causing human suffering and massive loss of livestock. According to the assessments estimate, almost 50% of cows have died and 40% of shoats have also disappeared. Camel death is estimated around 11%. Diseases are also causing similar deaths. The prolonged dry season raises the costs of trucking and is also exhausting the capacity of the locals. Additionally, as rangelands deteriorate, livestock conditions continue to weaken, loss of livestock is expected to increase horribly.

Due to the water shortages, the communities are spending over 60% of their income on water and only 30% is being spent of food and other non-food essentials.

The crisis in Abudwak seems to be surpassing all the communities' efforts and capacities and all current coping mechanisms are exhausted. The assessment recommends the following urgent interventions to curb the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the area:

- Conduct blanket food distribution for all livelihood groups in Abudwak districts and the surrounding villages.

- Support the affected communities with de-stocking programs to enable restart their livestock activities after the end of the rainy season.

- Establish feeding centers to combat the increasing rates of malnutrition in the area.

- Support the pastoral communities' water burden in distant places through water trucking delivered to a short distant within a short reach.

- Embark cash relief initiatives to bolster household income and purchasing powers of the

most vulnerable.

- Health facilities needs to improved and established to enable access to health facilities.

- Rehabilitate broken boreholes and active ones to reduce congestion and thus prevent degradation of the environment.

- Provide mass livestock treatment in the area to avoid the death of livestock due to diseases.