By Rageh Omaar

ITV News International Affairs Editor Rageh Omaar has traveled across Somaliland as severe drought brings the unrecognized east-African nation to the brink of a preventable humanitarian catastrophe.



Unconscious and malnourished – but Sudesi is one of the lucky ones.

Rushed into a basic hospital built over 70 years ago, overworked doctors were able to give the three-and-a-half-year-old the medication he needed after he developed Meningitis.

He was one of three new malnourished children admitted to this hospital in Somaliland over a 24-hour period.

And as strange it may sound, Sudesi could be classed as one of the lucky ones.

At the moment more than one and a half million people in Somaliland stand on the edge of famine. They are on the brink.

And their message to the world is: “Without help now, we’ll all be finished.’

Many in Somaliland stand on the brink of a devastating famine. Credit: ITV News

This country has been starved of the rain it desperately needs for more than three years, leaving over half of Somaliland’s 18 million livestock dead.

As the situation worsens across the region, doctors at this hospital, built by British engineers during the colonial era, are treating more and more malnourished children.

But now they say they are operating at full capacity.

They also desperately need medical supplies. And Somaliland urgently needs rain.

This doctor says medical supplies are desperately needed. Credit: ITV News

It takes two days of hard driving to even get to the region where some of the youngsters at the hospital had to travel from.

You cross a dry, barren landscape starved of rains for three consecutive years.

Somaliland’s rains have failed for three consecutive years. Credit: ITV News

So desperate are those displaced by this unrelenting drought, that even the land they set their makeshift camps in is scorched dry.

Ten million animal carcasses litter the land.

Makeshift camps line Somaliland’s barren countryside. Credit: ITV News

Of even more concern is the welfare of unknown numbers of mothers and children stranded in Somaliland’s hinterland.

One mother escaped to a camp with her eight children, including a five-year-old daughter with numerous medical complications since birth.

Now hunger has weakened her and left her mother desperate.

This mother and her eight young children stand on the brink Credit: ITV News

In three months of traveling, they have not seen one Western aid worker, her mother claims.

“We’ll be finished. What do any of us have left?” she said.

“We have lost all our animals. Without help now, we’ll be finished.”

‘We need immediate support,’ said ActionAid aid worker. Credit: ITV News

“We need immediate support, including food, water, and medicine,” one medical worker said.

“When I say immediate I mean now. We have the chance to save lives now.”

300,000 people, mainly children, are at risk of severe drought. Credit: ITV News

Somaliland is a country where 300,000 people, most of them children, are classed as being at severe risk from drought.

More than 1.5 million people are staring famine in the face.

People here know that it’s only a matter of weeks, not months, to avert a full-blown humanitarian crisis.

And people across the world will not be able to say they didn’t know about it.

Time to avert a disaster in Somaliland is running out. Credit: ITV News


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