Drought can cause large-scale crop failure and high levels of livestock deaths, combined with rising costs of food. By reducing food availability, or by making availability more unpredictable, it can be harder for people to get access to the basic diet we all need to survive. Drought can also have negative impacts on access to clean water, good sanitation and health.
The consequences of this can be severe, especially when coupled with conflict and displacement. Across Somalia, malnutrition rates remain very high, with around 1 million children acutely malnourished.
When drought hits, Concern must respond to meet people’s immediate needs. But we also work with people to try to make sure that when the next drought inevitably comes they are better equipped to cope.
In the short term, this means the provision of seeds and tools for late-season planting and, increasingly, providing people with cash transfers directly, via mobile phones. With cash, people can choose to invest in the things that will make the biggest difference to them. The majority of the money dispersed is used for food, but people will also use it for purchasing water, medicine, fuel and education.
In the longer term, we need to help people rebuild their lives in a way that makes them better able to cope with future climate shocks. Our agricultural experts are working with local farmers to diversify the crops they grow and introduce quicker maturing and drought-resistant plants. Putting in place additional water storage and introducing conservation agriculture techniques can ensure that the most is made of the rain that does fall. To reduce dependence on livelihoods vulnerable to changes in weather, we are training women and young people in running businesses.