The Stream, December 10, 2021: Extreme Drought and Internal Conflict Are Displacing Somalians


  • Amid ongoing drought, residents in Somalia’s Galgaduud region also face intensifying armed conflict between the Somali National Army and a militant group.
  • A pipeline project in New Mexico will bring nearly 2,000 residents in one tribal community running water.
  • Proposed regulations in California could fine residents for wasting water.
  • Severe water shortages in southern China will continue into next spring, officials say.

Hope for government relief is weaning among Ghanaians displaced by rising sea levels and flooding.

“By Sunday at dawn, the water was everywhere. All our things were affected by the flood.” – Janet Nubueke, a resident in Ghana’s coastal town of Keta. In early November, high tides flooded more than 1,000 homes in Ghana’s coastal communities, displacing more than 3,000 people. Seaside towns and cities like Keta have slowly been eroding over the years due to rising sea levels. Residents affected by flooding are asking their government to relocate them, but are skeptical that officials will ever act.


The Year in Water, 2021: Water Crises Take Center Stage

Too much. Too little. Too polluted. Too frequent.

If nothing else, the last 12 months of floods, fires, droughts, and other torments delivered an uncomfortable message. Extreme events are happening more often. And they are happening almost everywhere.

One positive trend is that severe weather is not as deadly as it was generations ago. But the pain is instead distributed in other ways. Homes washed away. Dry wells. Persistent hunger after failed harvests and reliance on food aid. Rebuilding again and again like this is wearying. Some want to move. Their neighbors may already have.

Limiting the damage from a fevered planet was the goal of a U.N. climate summit in November. Coming out of the summit, climate campaigners accused political leaders of another compact phrase — of being too timid.

Without a greater sense of urgency this decade, the hill to climb becomes much steeper. Future leaders don’t want to find themselves adding another phrase to the list: too late.

Catch up on the biggest stories you may have missed this year from Circle of Blue.

In Case You Missed It:

As West Withers Corporations Consolidate Land and Water Rights – With farms, ranches and rural communities facing unprecedented threats, a worrying trend leads to a critical question: Who owns the water? This piece was originally published by Columbia Insight as part of Tapped Out, a series documenting power and water justice in the rural American West.

HotSpots H2O: Ongoing Madagascar Famine Is Driven By Poverty, Not Climate Change – A new study shows the vulnerability of the world’s poorest nations even without climate breakdowns, its authors say.

Drought and Armed Conflict Destabilize Somalia

More than 300,000 people have been affected by drought in Somalia’s Galgaduud region as armed conflict intensifies. Shortly after Galgaduud’s major city, Guriel, received its first rainfall in months in October, fighting between the Somali National Army and militant group Ahlu Sunnah Wal Jama’a broke out, killing dozens, destroying a major hospital, and damaging a local borehole that provided water to thousands of people and their animals. Many people were forced to move once again, further destabilizing the region.



Around 49 percent of tribal homes don’t have access to reliable water sources, clean drinking water, or basic sanitation, reports KUNC. In To’hajiilee, New Mexico, residents typically haul water from the city of Albuquerque, which is 30 minutes away, for drinking water. Now, a long-awaited pipeline is in the works to bring running water to To’hajiilee. It is expected to be completed in 2023.

$500 A DAY

Proposed emergency regulations in California could charge residents $500 a day for wasting water. The California State Water Resources Control Board has proposed the regulations, which would fine residents observed washing cars without a shutoff nozzle or watering lawns within 48 hours of a rain event. The resolution will be considered early next month during a state board meeting.


Chinese officials are warning that severe water shortages in the cities of Guangzhou and Shenzhen could last into early next spring. The major water supply for both cities, the East River Basin, has been hit by its most severe drought in decades and flows remain at around 50 percent capacity.

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