Publication Date March 10, 2017

Thousands forced to move as drought strikes Puntland

The diminishing stream at Dhudi, Bandar Bayla district in eastern Puntland. It is currently the only running water source within a 75km radius. Photo: Ashley Hamer, Al Jazeera

Puntland is on the edge of famine, according to aid agencies working in this semi-autonomous state in Somalia's arid north.

Between 20,000 and 27,000 nomadic pastoralists have been forced to travel hundreds of miles to reach coastal regions of Puntland where there was a flash of rain in December last year. There has been no rain since.

The displacement has forced families to separate, leaving women, children and the elderly to find help in makeshift displacement camps on the edges of towns where water-borne diseases are spreading and living conditions are dire.

The Horn of Africa is in the midst of the harshest and most prolonged drought in decades. Swaths of Somalia, already one of the world's most fragile territories, are facing famine just six years after one last ravaged the country, killing 260,000 people.