BAYLA, Somalia – Like many Somalis, Hassan Samanthar has had to travel more than 600 kilometers (371 miles) in search of water and grass in a country that is on the brink of famine due to a lack of rainfall.
The 70-year-old is one of countless Somalis who have left their families behind, journeying toward Bayla district in the northeast of the African country.
“We have no food and no water,” he told EFE.
Samanthar started his journey along with one of his sons two months ago from the central Somali village of Galkayo, as he faced the despair of seeing his cattle die of starvation.
Indeed, an epa journalist observed the skeletons of dead animals lying on the dry ground in the northern semi-autonomous region of Puntland.
Samanthar lost more than 50 goats during his trip and expressed his disappointment after also finding drought in Bayla.
Much of the land has begun to crack due to three failed rainy seasons in Somalia, where 6.2 million people, more than half of the population, was in urgent need of humanitarian aid.
Water trucks from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) supply water to the most affected communities in Puntland, where water scarcity has led to price increases.
Ali Asair was captured by the epa photographer tending to his camel as he traveled hundreds of kilometers looking for suitable pastures for his animals.
In Bandarbeyla, farmers were pictured tending to a flock of sheep, providing them with water, and a vet injecting them with multivitamins.
The population has been forced to resort to sources of non-potable water, triggering a new outbreak of cholera that has already affected about 8,000 people in 11 regions, primarily in the south of the country.
The FAO has for months been supporting communities to mitigate the effects of drought through different actions such as donating money so people can immediately acquire food and water or vaccinate livestock.
“It’s the worst drought I’ve ever seen,” said Mohamed Ali, who also had to go north with his animals.
Despite Somalia’s desperate situation, international organizations insist that acting urgently can still prevent hundreds of thousands of people from dying.