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In pictures: Famine threatens Somaliland

Mustafa Saeed, Save the Children | Milgo stands with her four children near a sheep that succumbed to the effects of the drought ravaging Somaliland, on February 22, 2017.

The UN estimates that more than half of the 6.2 million residents of Somalia need emergency food aid. Among those in dire need, the nomadic herders of Somaliland, a breakaway state in Somalia, see their very way of life imperiled by drought.


Famine has threatened nearly 20 million people since the start of 2017 in Somalia, northern Nigeria, Yemen and South Sudan. The South Sudanese government announced in mid-February that several of the countries’ regions had already been affected. The UN on Wednesday sounded the alarm, saying it had collected less than a third of the funds needed to avert a new widespread famine. The appeal to donors for $864 million in funds to contain the crisis is due to be revised upward.

Somalia, embroiled in a political and security crisis over the past two decades, has already experienced two famines in 25 years, due in particular to exceptional droughts. During the 2011 famine, 260,000 people died in Somalia. “The international reaction at the time was clearly too slow. Today, we can still avoid the worst-case scenario,” Dominik Stillhart, director of operations for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), told the Swiss daily Le Temps. The UN estimates that more than half of the 6.2 million residents of Somalia need emergency food aid, including the 363,000 children suffering from severe malnutrition.

Photographer Mustafa Saeed travelled to Somaliland, a self-declared independent region in northern Somalia, to bear witness to the ravages of the drought and the threat of famine weighing on nomadic herders’ way of life. They have already lost much of their livestock (sheep, goats and camels) and have had to settle at the edges of urban centres in order to receive help from locals and non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

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This article was translated from the original, in French.

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