Barawe(Mogadishu24)-After 20 years of deforestation and coal trade, massive sand has caused the displacement of over 35,000 people in the Barawe District, the administrative capital of the Southwest State of Somalia.

Garbage-strewn beaches, houses submerged in the sea, and unnatural heat paint a clear picture of the district, which is affected by the severe impacts of climate change.

“This sand, which comes from the sea, has a huge impact on us. It is always moving and has a huge influence on our lives, both environmentally and in terms of our livelihoods. The relentless march of this sand, inexorably covering our homes, has wrought devastating consequences upon our lives and residences,” lamented a local resident.

“The root cause of this sand is the reckless destruction of our forests, with trees being cut and burned for coal, and grass being cut for personal gain and land profiting. Such actions are taken by individuals who prioritize their interests over the well-being of our society, leaving the district to be affected by the devastating sand,” he added.

Years down the line, the sand remains a huge problem, affecting our future generations, burying their wells, and destroying their homes.

“In the Dayah area, we face two major issues: flooding during the rainy season and sandstorms. However, the most challenging problem in Barawe District is the moving sand during the drought season when there is no rain,” another resident said.

“I call on the concerned government authorities and individuals to visit Barawe and find solutions to this issue,” he added.

In response to the devastating situation and the appeal made by the residents, the Federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Mrs. Khadija Mohamed Al Makzoumi, accompanied by the Southwest Minister of Environment and other delegates, visited the area to restore hope amidst the environmental challenges faced by the people of Barawe district.

“There are grains of soil in every plate of rice you eat. No matter how high you build your walls, the sand finds a way in; the wind carries it inside,” stated a resident.

The Federal Minister of Environment, Mrs. Khadija, stated that their visit was primarily intended to assess the environmental challenges and find a solution to the problem.

“I am here in Barawe, accompanied by a delegation from the government, including the Southwest Minister of Environment and Climate Change. Our purpose is to assess the environmental and climate change issues, particularly the encroaching sand on the beaches and residential areas,” stated Mrs. Khadija Mohamed Al Makhzoumi, the Federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change.

She underscored the need for both the federal government and the state government to join efforts to combat the environmental challenges within the region, especially in Barawe.

“Barawe’s survival hinges on tackling its greatest environmental challenge: sand. Preserving our environment and community demands action against the ongoing sand burial. A shared responsibility for both government and citizens must be found to tackle the challenge,” she added.

The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change has undertaken significant efforts to protect the environment and wildlife, based on the Green Somalia initiative, which aims to combat the effects of climate change.

“With the Green Somalia initiative, our goal is to plant 10 million trees across Somalia,” said Somalia’s President, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, during the launch of the initiative.

The Minister’s visit, combined with the broader greening efforts, particularly in Barawe, is the beginning of steps toward preventing further suffering for the local community and averting the looming humanitarian crisis.

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