September 21 2011

SOS Children's Villages support Ethiopian solidarity with their Somali neighbours

21/09/2011 - Over two thousand Somali families have recently descended on what was a quiet village in the Gode district of Ethiopia. Their arrival in Morudile has increased the local population by half as the influx of refugees continues to grow. SOS Children's Villages is now addressing many of their needs.

Photo: Jens Honoré
Images from better days: the herds are now dead, Somali herders have become refugees - Photo: J. Honoré
Until the recent drought, nomadic pastoralists would traditionally pass through the village that is located in one of the country’s driest areas; a barren landscape where clean drinking water is a rare commodity. After trading their livestock for provisions, the herders would normally move on to fresher pastures. A combination of insecurity and exceptionally dry conditions has changed trading patterns.

Photo: SOS Archives
Thousands of Somali families have come for help to their former trade partners in Ethiopia - Photo: SOS Archives
People and their livestock now die in their thousands. Children are the first to suffer the effects of malnutrition for want of clean drinking water, and a daily intake of less than 5 grams of beans, a spoonful of oil and a fist full of wheat. With nothing to trade, herders, like other Somali refugees are arriving in desperate need. They have expressed gratitude to the indigenous people of Morudile and SOS Childrens Villages for their unselfish ongoing support. Support, that continues to save lives.  

Photo: Benno Neelemann
Though the Ethiopians have shared what little they had, resources are running out - Photo: B. Neelemann
By sharing their depleting water and food supplies with the ever increasing number of Somali refugees, it was assumed my some visiting NGOs that the people of Morudile could cope. Experts from SOS Children’s Villages foresaw the potential escalation of the problem; a problem that would have seen the local population suffer the same fate as their emaciated visitors.

17 August last marked a turning point for the village of Morudile when a response team form SOS Children’s Villages Ethiopia undertook the urgent task of improving access to clean water. The distribution of chemical tablets has since help contain the spread of water borne diseases in the village.

Photo: Photo: Benno Neelemann
At the end of August, SOS Children's Villages supplied families with food - and more is on the way - Photo: SOS Archives
Four days later the SOS team distributed the first consignment of rice and cooking oil to 6,232 of the most needy men women and children. Morudile is one of several communities in which SOS Children’s Villages Ethiopia supports local women’s groups and community leaders who are reaching out to help their neighbors.