At least 25 people have died of starvation in the self-declared republic of Somaliland as the Horn of Africa grapples with an increasingly severe drought.
“The drought situation is at its most dangerous level. Eighty percent of the livestock have gone and we are struggling with saving people, who have started dying. So far, we have recorded 25 deaths, most of them children who starved to death," said Ahmed Abdi Salay, the governor of Somaliland's northwest Sanag region.
According to the United Nations, more than 50,000 children across Somaliland and Somalia are facing possible death because of the ongoing regional drought.
Somaliland declared independence from Somalia in 1991 but is not recognized by any other country.
The news about the deaths in Sanag emerged a day after government-owned Radio Mogadishu website reported that at least 26 people died of starvation in Somalia's southern region of Jubaland.
The governor of the Togdheer region in Somaliland, Mohamud Ali Saleban, said the drought is affecting every part of Somali society.
“The pain of the drought has touched us in all levels, every office and every household there is the impact," he said. "Relatives who lost their livestock have resorted to come to the cities in search of lifesaving assistance from their acquaintances and relatives,” Saleban said.
On Monday, Somali Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire included a minister of disaster management in his Cabinet, saying the ministry will deal with the drought that has left more than 6 million Somalis in need of aid.
Governor Salay said more than 15,000 people who have fled rural areas are now living in makeshift displaced persons' camps in the Sanag region capital of Erigavo.
According to a statement from the Somali doctors’ association, a group of Mogadishu doctors has joined the Drought Relief Campaign, providing medical services to individuals in the camps for the internally displaced.