Doolow is the last stop for Somalis running from hunger and conflict to neighbouring Ethiopia. The local community is itself hard-hit by the drought. What I saw there was grim but I also took some positive notes from my visit.
The first encouraging sign was the local chieftain sitting down with our partner organisation Coopi and taking an active part in the process of distributing food supplies to fellow Somalis arriving from the worst-hit regions of their country. Despite the closeness of conflict, and heavily armed security guards around them, humanitarian workers feel safe there. The chief and the local community are their protectors – and food finds its way to those who most need it, be it locals or internally displaced persons.
I spoke with one exhausted family who had walked for many days to reach Doolow. The mother told me that they would all prefer to stay in Somalia, but their crops had failed and their livestock had died. They had no choice but to leave. With our help for this family and many others Doolow became their final destination, inside Somalia, in good hands.
It proved to me that we can reach the victims of the worst drought in sixty years without them having to cross borders into neighbouring countries. So we will be scaling up urgently what we have already been doing in Somalia for some time to match the massive needs.
Editor’s Note: This blog is republished with kind permission by the European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response. The Commissioner’s blog may be found here.