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Official Says 80 Percent of Livestock Dead in Somaliland

80 percent of the region's livestock have died due the drought that has also killed dozens of people and forced thousands into displaced persons camps80 percent of the region's livestock have died due the drought that has also killed dozens of people and forced thousands into displaced persons camps

Man looks at carcass of his goats which died due to the severe drought in the Togdher region of Somaliland, VOA

Las-anod, March 25: Authorities in the breakaway republic of Somaliland say at least 80 percent of the region’s livestock have died due to the crippling drought that has also killed dozens of people and forced thousands into displaced persons camps.

“The situation is very grave as most of the livestock were killed by drought,” said Mohamud Ali Saleban, governor of the Togdheer region, in the town of Buro.

“We are waiting for the rain, but if it does not come in the next few days, we expect the government to declare an emergency,” the governor told VOA.

Officials told VOA that nearly 50 people across Somaliland have died due to drought-related illnesses.

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Nomadic communities all across this region said they have never experienced this kind of drought.

Jama Handulle Yassin, a 63-year-old herder, said he has lost more than 280 goats, leaving him with just 30.

“The starvation affected everything, and the situation now is very dangerous where we run for our lives before we die here,” he said. “We appeal to the world to immediately support us.”

Another woman, age 73, said, “This is the worst I have seen in my life.”

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Somaliland was affected by the 2011 regional drought that killed an estimated 260,000 people, but that event had its gravest impact in south and central Somalia.

Somaliland declared independence from Somalia in 1991 but is not recognized by any other country.

The current drought has forced tens of thousands of pastoralists to flee from remote villages into towns, where they set up makeshift camps.

As water becomes scarce, the drought is forcing many people living in camps outside the town of Las-Anod to drink dirty water.

Standing near the carcass of a camel, Roble Jama, a 13-year-old herder, said his family lost the only camel they had due to drought.

“I have seen when the camel was dying and I felt so sad. The camel’s name was Cadaawe and was nine years old,” Roble Jama told VOA near the village of Ina-Afmadobe.

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The United Nations recently warned that 6.2 million people across Somalia are facing acute food shortages. More than 1.5 million of those live in Somaliland.


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Australia Rejects U.N. Climate Report, Continues Using Coal

Australia is the world's driest inhabited continent.

Australia, Coal
The Liddell coal-fired power station is seen in the Hunter Valley, north of Sydney, Australia. VOA

Australia is rejecting the latest U.N. report on climate change, insisting coal remains critical to energy security and lowering household power bills.

The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said in its report released Monday that global greenhouse gas emissions must reach zero by the middle of the century to stop global warming exceeding 1.5 degrees Celsius.

The authors warned that if warming was allowed to reach two degrees, the world would be on course toward uncontrollable temperatures.

Climate change, Australia
The coal-fired Plant Scherer, one of the nation’s top carbon dioxide emitters, stands in the distance in Juliette, Georgia. VOA

They made special mention of coal, insisting that its use for power generation would have to fall to between zero and two percent of current usage.

The report has received a lukewarm response by Australia’s center-right government. It has said it has no intention of scaling back fossil fuel production because without coal, household power bills would soar.

Canberra also insists it is on target to meet its commitments under the Paris agreement, which attempts to unite every nation under a single accord to tackle climate change for the first time ever.

Australia earns billions of dollars exporting coal to China and other parts of Asia, while it generates more than 60 percent of domestic electricity.

Queensland, Australia
FILE – A dead tree stands near a water tank in a drought-stricken paddock located on the outskirts of the southwestern Queensland town of Cunnamulla in outback Australia, Aug. 10, 2017. (VOA)

Australia’s Environment Minister Melissa Price believes the IPCC report exaggerates the threat posed by fossil fuel.

“Coal does form a very important part of the Australian energy mixer and we make no apology for the fact that our focus at the moment is on getting electricity prices down,” Price said. “Every year, there is new technology with respect to coal and what its contribution is to emissions. So, you know, to say that it has got to be phased out by 2050 is drawing a very long bow.”

Australia has some of the world’s highest per capita rates of greenhouse gas pollution. A recent government report showed a failure to reduce levels of greenhouse gas pollution. The survey said that between January and March this year, Australia had its most elevated levels of carbon pollution since 2011.

Coal, Australia
Workers operate machines at a coal mine at Palaran district in Samarinda, Indonesia (VOA)

Conservationists argue Australia is doing too little to protect itself from the predicted ravages of a shifting climate.

Also Read: Use Every Resources To Help in Climate Change: Scientists

Australia is the world’s driest inhabited continent. Scientists warn that droughts, floods, heat waves, brush fires and storms will become more intense as temperatures rise, with potentially disastrous consequences for human health and the environment, including the Great Barrier Reef. (VOA)