Thursday, June 1, 2017

Commentary - Burao is neglected

(Burao , Somaliland )- The news coming from the second largest city of Somaliland republic is scaring.
The outbreak of Cholera in the region has not been addressed accordingly and the government is hiding the truth about the Cholera by calling it a Diarrhea.
Recent reports coming from the city indicate that atleast 54 people mostly children, women and the elderly have recently  died mainly in Burao hospital. Pictures from the city show that people are being treated by volunteer medical staff under trees.

The region had suffered the worst drought in the country for decades and many people  had lost their livestock and had migrated to  other areas in search of greener pastures. Their suffering had been compounded by the Gu rains that fell in the region during the latter days of April and the month of May. The Cholera outbreak started from Buhoodle  and later in Burao.
The administration in Hargeisa is not talking about the epidemic. No one government minister has talked about the situation in the region let alone visit it . Burao is neglected and its people had been let down.
Patients treated under trees in Burao

Burao is the most important city in Somaliland . It  has always been the centre of trade in Somaliland. Since the early sixties, the livestock trade that supported the economy of the country went through Burao markets. All livestock brought from the other regions of eastern and southern Somaliland passed through Burao and then exported through Berbera port. The city is also the hub that connects the west of the country to Sanaag and Sool regions. An asphalted road that had been built by the Chinese decades ago connects Burao to Laasanod and Mogadishu . A newly built road connects Burao to Erigavo. Another asphalted road connects Burao to Berbera while a rough road connects Burao and Hargeisa cities.

A sick child lays on the floor in Burao hospital - Photo credit of Kayse Cali Nuur

The media always reports about a UN or international Aid given to Somaliland to alleviate the suffering of the people in the drought affected areas. The Somaliland Diaspora has also collected donations for the drought relief while the businesses  have donated more than $3M during a fund raising night in Hargeisa. All these monies seem not to have reached the people of Burao that had most suffered of the drought and are now under the threat of a widespread cholera.
Somaliland government should address the current epidemic in Burao and should deliver immediate relief and the needed medicines to control the Cholera and treat those affected by the disease.