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The Horn of Africa States The Disastrous Drought

July 15, 2022

By Dr. Suleiman Walhad
July 15th, 2022


Millions of the people of the Horn of Africa States are at risk of starvation and death. Their means of livelihood, their farms and their animals are no longer able to sustain them. The farms are dry because of drought or remain fallow because of clan conflicts and clashes, and the animals are dying like people because of the drought. While this drought problem was recurring in the region, it is now more frequent than it ever was and endangers life as we know it in the region. Is this a microcosm of what happened to the Sahara region thousands of years ago? We are told the Sahara, some 9 million square kilometers of Northern Africa was green at one time with rivers, lakes, forests and savannah and hence resultant life – people, animals, reptiles, and insects and so on, but today it is so dry that it sustains only very few hardy people and other forms of life. Perhaps!

During the desertification of the Sahara, communication among the world’s peoples was perhaps limited and they could not be helped. Probably those who could, migrated away to other lands, where they could fend for their lives. Today, however, people all across the globe are fully aware of the plight of the region and they have been reporting on it almost daily for years, with significantly large NGOs exploiting the situation as a source of employment instead of helping those really in need. The more unfortunate part of it all is the role played by the governance of the region, for although it is their own people, they are still engulfed in political maneuverings and political infighting among each other. It is an unfortunate African story, isn’t it?

Although there is drought and starvation in the region, yet we also know that the region has plenty of water. It has lakes and rivers and aquifers, and it should not need help from outside if they can only look into themselves and decide to settle their eternal clan/ethnic problems and work on the land and use the available waters to feed their populations. There is the Blue Nile and its source lake – lake Tana and there is the Omo River and the Jubba and Shabelle rivers and many others. And there are plenty of underground waters, which can be drilled. The aforesaid, can only be worked should the region’s leadership and its people spend on implements and a struggle against the desertification of the land and feeding of their people, instead of spending heavy on weapons and arms to kill each other.

We understand that there are foreign interferences using some of the sons and daughters of the land to keep them busy in the killing fields and that there would always be a need to defend the region. This is all fine as long as a parallel process of removing the causes of conflicts are lessened and eliminated in due course.

Many believe that the droughts and famines of the region are natural. While there is some truth in this, it appears not to be so natural, after all. Climate change is a major factor and human intervention in the normal live processes is another factor, and therefore, what appears natural, can no longer be classified as natural. What is natural of a clan chasing away farmers from tilling their lands? And what is natural of politicians encouraging people to abandon their normal livelihood means and forcing them to participate in struggles that would not feed them? What is natural of the warming caused by people in faraway lands, through their polluting industries and rapacious consumerism?
The Horn of Africa States region is indeed suffering from a combination of natural and unnatural factors that is pushing it to the edge, and it is on the onus of its leadership and the people of the region to reverse the process before it truly becomes an extension of the Great African Sahara. Other nations and especially the developed world would promise and pledge to help but the real help would only come from within the region when it decides to help itself.

An African Proverb says: “A clever king is the brother of peace”
*Dr. Walhad writes on the Horn of Africa economies and politics. He can be reached at walhad@hornafric.org

1 Comment

  1. “Other nations and especially the developed world would promise and pledge to help but the real help would only come from within the region when it decides to help itself.”

    You said it, Brother Dr. Suleiman Walhad >>>”the real help would only come from within the region when it decides to help itself.”
    But, I DARE QUESTION, do we Black Africans ever help ourselves by ourselves for our selves ???
    What is wrong with us???
    We have all the faculties >>>brain, eyes, ears, legs, feelings, desires ……..
    And yet we are recognized as the most backward country in the World
    Why? Why? Why.? ……..
    Do our LEADERS ever ask themselves those questions?!?!? I confess, I KNOW THE ANSWER.
    WE ARE DOOMED.
    SHAME ON US.
    HOW COMFORTABLE CAN WE BE WHEN WE ARE THE JOCK of the GLOBE.
    GO AHEAD, INSULT ME — WE ARE GOOD AT IT.
    .

    .

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