Praying for rain, Searching for pasture

A ShelterBox team is in Somaliland exploring the need for shelter

We currently have a team assessing the situation in Somaliland, a self-declared state on the Horn of Africa.

Somaliland is facing famine as livestock perish after three years of poor pasture.

In the next few weeks, seasonal rains known locally as ‘Gu’ might just save families from impending famine. But if the rains fail they will almost certainly lose their remaining livestock – on which they rely entirely for food and income.

Now, with thirst and malnutrition a daily threat, families are becoming even more widely displaced as they head off into the desert to seek pasture.

ShelterBox is talking to the aid community and government officials about the scale of the problem. Watch this video to hear the latest.

Working in extreme conditions

I responded to Somaliland with ShelterBox in 2007 and 2009 for people displaced as a result of conflict, but this is different. This is a huge humanitarian challenge that will affect so many. I feel the work we are doing here will allow some of the most vulnerable of the displaced to continue to live as normal a life as possible with dignity, when conditions are so extreme.

– Pat Prendergast, ShelterBox Response Volunteer

As a new staff member it’s been fascinating to be in Somaliland and see how ShelterBox thoroughly investigates a scenario before it responds. This approach means that not only does the affected population receive assistance appropriate to their needs, it ensures ShelterBox makes the most of every pound donated to us.

– Dave Raybould, Operations Coordinator

“As Operations Team Lead I’ve responded to the biggest natural disasters in recent years, but I’ve never been in a situation like this. The scale and impact of this drought is overwhelming and its only going to get worse until the rains come, but we don’t even know when that will happen. People need ShelterBox’s aid right now, and we’re going to do everything we can to help them.”

– James Luxton, Operations Team Lead

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A closer look

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Operations Team Lead, James Luxton, reports from the field.

Watch as he explains in greater depth the situation that Somaliland is facing and what ShelterBox is doing to respond.

Please don’t delay – thousands of families in Somaliland and around the world need our help now.

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Cafe prosperity

The last time we were in Somaliland was in 2009, when we were helping people displaced by conflict.

Eight years on, as our team were travelling down a bumpy, dusty desert road, they came upon a lone tent with a ShelterBox and Rotary International logo on it.

The owner of the tent, Muna Mohammed now uses the tent as a café. Muna, aged 21, has made good use of the original tent, weaving it together with other material to form a traditional Somali house. This is a new method of up-cycling we haven’t seen before, and it’s great to see such adaptability and resilience.

Muna proudly told the team her tea is the best in Somaliland, she has called the café Prosperity.