In the early hours of the morning, earlier than dawn, the refugees in Borama collect round distributors promoting bread out of wheelbarrows, hoping for handouts.

The close by tea retailers do what they will to assist, shelling out scorching drinks to lots of of people that have left combating and drought in Ethiopia for sanctuary in Somaliland’s border metropolis. At evening, households lie in rows on the pavements, huddled beneath blankets.

In January, Anajow Abana travelled 300km from Tigray, in northern Ethiopia, to Somaliland. She and her three-year-old daughter are dwelling on town’s streets, surviving on the charity of native folks.

“We fled fighting and drought,” she says. “The fighting was so bad and they killed my husband and two of my children. It took us 12 days to get here and was such a difficult time,” she says.

Families reach out their hands for bread in the centre of Borama city, Somaliland
People sleeping rough in downtown Borama.
Families shelter in the shade on a street
A tea shop owner offers handouts of a group of refugees

Mimi Tadasse can be dwelling on the streets of Borama. It took her 14 days to attain town. “We got here a week ago,” she says. “It was a hard journey. We had to go through areas of fighting, and it was very dangerous.”

Tadasse is from the Amhara area of Ethiopia, which has been engulfed in battle in the course of the war that started between forces loyal to the Tigrayan regional authorities and the Ethiopian armed forces in November 2020, and rapidly spiralled to embrace plenty of armed teams, regional militias and the Eritrean army.

A family sits in a makeshift kitchen.

Mohamed Warsame (Baradho), the mayor of Borama, which is house to about 200,000 folks, believes the variety of refugees in town is far greater than estimates. According to immigration officers, at the least 10,000 folks arrived in the primary two months of 2022, he says, and plenty of extra can have crossed the porous border unofficially.

Many refugees journey on to the capital Hargeisa and different areas, fairly than staying in Borama. Some stroll so far as Bosaso on the coast and take a look at to get a ship throughout the Gulf of Aden to Yemen. From there, they stroll to Saudi Arabia in the hope of discovering employment as labourers or shepherds. People arriving from the Somali area of Ethiopia discover it simpler to assimilate and arrange a shelter in the refugee camps, as they communicate the language; it’s way more difficult for these from Tigray, Amhara or Oromia.

There are two refugee camps in Borama, the place it’s estimated greater than 2,000 households reside. Some have been in the camps for greater than 20 years, others only a few days. There is little infrastructure, however there’s a faculty constructed by Unicef, and native and worldwide NGOs have assisted with latrines and water factors.

The plight of the refugees in Borama is a part of a growing crisis engulfing the Horn of Africa, the place 16 million folks in Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia are in dire want of meals. Consecutive droughts have exacerbated the consequences of war, main to water shortage, livestock deaths, hovering meals costs and acute insecurity. A poor begin to the 2022 wet season coupled with the war in Ukraine may have catastrophic outcomes, Save the Children warned in April.

A family gather outside a makeshift shelter in a camp for displaced people
Boys play marbles in the camp.
Koos Mohammed, chairperson of the camp for displaced people in Borama, stands in the sun outside a shelter
A family in a camp in Borama.

  • Clockwise from high left: Dayis Amin and his household arrived at a camp in Borama from Ethiopia. ‘Some days we eat nothing.’ he says; boys play marbles in the camp; a household in the camp; Koos Mohammed, the camp’s chairperson


The mass motion of susceptible folks over insecure border areas threatens to additional destabilise the area and hurt communities, with many migrants going through the extra risk of unexploded ordnance (UXO) and landmines as they transfer via unfamiliar territories. The border with Ethiopia has been closely fought over because the 60s, significantly in the course of the 80s and 90s, which means former battle websites are closely contaminated with UXO.

Dayis Amin and his father fled to Somaliland after their crops failed in Ethiopia

Dayis Amin and his spouse, Suldan, are dwelling in a refugee camp in Borama with their eight youngsters having fled a disputed space shut to Harar, Ethiopia. They say they have been unable to develop any crops due to combating and drought. Amin says: “It is difficult here. Some days we eat nothing.

“We had a good life before. We had 20 cows and 30 sheep. Then there was trouble, and we couldn’t get by. We couldn’t farm because of the fighting, so when the drought came all the animals died.

“There were also explosions where we were, from the fighting. About six months ago, a group of children were playing with a metal item just 150 metres from our house. There was an explosion and five children died.”

A woman teaches people in a camp in Borama about weapons safety and dangers from unexploded landmines.

Omar Mohammed, Somalia nation director for MAG, a humanitarian organisation that clears UXO and landmines, says: “Moving across borders into Somaliland to seek humanitarian assistance or better conditions is the only way to cope for these people – while the UXOs and mines litter both sides of the border from previous wars. The UN estimates there were more than 317,000 newly displaced people within Somalia in January 2022 due to conflict and drought-related issues.

“We are doing our best to keep people safe by advising them of the risks of unexploded ordnance and landmines in the border areas, but they face multiple other risks because of the drought. Women and girls are having to walk longer distances to access water, for instance, exposing them to gender-based violence.”

Ordnance disposal specialists hand out information about explosives to families.
The explosives store is full of anti-tank mines, rocket-propelled grenades and projectiles.
Three children read a school book
Raho (left) leads the women’s group in the camp and is the MAG focal point regarding weapons and explosives safety.

  • Clockwise from high left: explosive ordnance disposal specialists hand out info leaflets about explosives to households; collected anti-tank mines, rocket-propelled grenades and projectiles in the explosives retailer; Raho (left) leads the camp’s ladies’s group and helps with weapons security; youngsters research security leaflets


In the city of Baligubadle, roughly 170km south-east of Borama, refugees from Ethiopia arrive each day, together with displaced Somalis looking for water and meals.

“People are dying,” says Abdi Karim Mohamed, director of households and livelihoods for the native authorities, “We don’t have enough water and we need help. Our reservoirs are dry. We bring water trucks all the way from Hargeisa, but that is very expensive and we can’t manage to do that very often.”

The Abdi Rahman family place wooden poles in the ground as they set up shelter in a camp for displaced people in Somaliland

The Abdi Rahman household have simply arrived in the city and are establishing makeshift shelters. “We had to leave our home because the animals were dying because of the drought,” says the household matriarch, Koos. “We had 200 goats before, but now we have only five. We have one cow – we lost four. The first animal died three months ago and then more died as they became weaker. We had lived there for generations but every year it became harder and harder to survive.”

Rein Paulsen, director for emergencies and resilience on the UN Food and Agriculture Programme (FAO) says: “We are most definitely now sitting on the brink of catastrophe, time is running out.”

“Harvests are ruined,” says Michael Dunford, regional director for the east Africa bureau of the UN World Food Programme (WFP). “Livestock are dying, and hunger is growing.”

Should the rains proceed to fail, it is going to be the primary time in greater than 40 years that 4 dry seasons can have occurred consecutively. For folks like Abana, and the tens of millions of already susceptible folks in this a part of the world, that may be a terrifying prospect.

Hinba Elmi with her camels in Kabada Buri village.