Photos: Powerful Photos in Somalia Reveal a Nation in Crisis as Drought Hits

by National Geographic

Photographs by Dominic Nahr, 

Contact Press Images


Without water to grow food or give their livestock, thousands have left their homes across Somalia and taken shelter in camps for internally displaced persons, like the Uusgure IDP camp in Puntland, a semi-autonomous state in northeastern Somalia.


Sahro Mohamed Mumin holds her two-year-old son, Abdulrahman Mahamud, inside the health clinic in the Shada IDP camp. Abdulrahman was diagnosed with pneumonia and his brother Abullahi with bronchitis. Both also suffer from severe malnutrition. The family traveled for nearly 100 miles to reach the camp after they lost all their livestock. 


A village elder walks past a dead camel near Uusgure IDP camp, which holds 316 families who've come seeking respite from the drought. 

An aerial view shows the dried up landscape in Puntland.

Somali men fill up a water truck in Dhudo, one of the only sources of water left in the region.

Goats drink water in Dhudo. Many households lost their entire livestock of animals after rains failed to come in this region for a third year.

A young Somali girl is surrounded by women in Uusgure IDP camp. The United Nations warns that half of the population of Somalia, about 6.2 million people, are affected by a drought in the Horn of Africa that could become a famine. The last famine, in 2011, killed over 250,000 people.

Somali women wait inside the compound of a hospital in the northeastern city of Gardo.

Severely malnourished 17-month-old Mohamed lies inside the Garowe General Hospital. More than 300,000 children under the age of five are malnourished.

Two Somali women finish building a shelter after recently arriving in an Uusgure IDP camp, which has 316 households in a region that has been severely affected by drought. Many households lost their entire livestock of animals, including camels and goats after rains have failed to come in this region for a third year.

Somali men prepare to pray during Friday prayers in an IDP camp in Karin Sarmayo. If last year's dry spell is repeated this spring, there are fears the country could devolve into another famine.

A newly dug grave lies at the edge of a cemetery after at least 20 people died from a water illness in the past two weeks inside Shabelle IDP camp in Garowe, one of Somalia's largest cities.