‘We lost everything’ – millions caught between drought and al-Shabaab at risk of famine in Somalia

Mardada Hussein stood outside the bee-hive shaped shelter where she sleeps with her eight children and counted everything she had lost.

“Ten,” she said. “Ten months here. Three years since we had rain. Fifteen cows, ten cattle, and 20 goats – all dead.”

The arithmetic of catastrophe is written large over Somalia’s interior. But it is the fatigue etched in Mrs Hussein’s face, and the tautness in her voice, that conveys the strain of a double catastrophe of war and drought that has forced millions off the land.

For generations, families like Mrs Hussein’s have lived off the land in the Bay region, growing sorghum, a traditional cereal, and raising cattle, camels, and goats.

But agriculture in this…

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