Rivers turn to dust as drought bites Somalia

March 31, 2016 10:34 am
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Cattle carcasses pictured outside the Somalian town of Dhobley during a drought/AFP
Cattle carcasses pictured outside the Somalian town of Dhobley during a drought/AFP

, MOGADISHU, Somalia, Mar 31 – Somalia’s bread basket has become a dust bowl as the life-giving waters of the mighty Shabelle River run dry amid intense drought in the war-torn country.

River-fed farmlands have become parched playgrounds for children who kick footballs beneath a cloudless sky, as one sign among many of the failed rains that the United Nations warns has put more than a million people at risk.

Overview
  • Elders in the Lower and Middle Shabelle regions, where most people rely on farming for survival, said it is the first time in decades they have seen such water shortages in the river.
  • "I have never dreamt of finding myself walking inside the river," said Adow Amin, a resident in Afgoye town, just outside the capital Mogadishu, an area famous for its banana production.
  • "Can you imagine there is no water? The whole area looks like another place, I used to cross this river with a boat," he said.

Elders in the Lower and Middle Shabelle regions, where most people rely on farming for survival, said it is the first time in decades they have seen such water shortages in the river.

“I have never dreamt of finding myself walking inside the river,” said Adow Amin, a resident in Afgoye town, just outside the capital Mogadishu, an area famous for its banana production.

“Can you imagine there is no water? The whole area looks like another place, I used to cross this river with a boat,” he said.

Land here should be producing maize, bananas, sesame and other fruits and vegetables, with the once broad waters of the river a lifeline for thousands of Somali families.

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