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Somali President Jaalle Maxamed Siyaad Barre

Jaalle Maxamed Siyaad Barre - JaalleSiyaad.com

     
Jul12

President Siad Barre Speech: Drought-Engendered Problem - 1975

I now turn into an issue which has nothing to do with the occasion for which we are gathered here, but which cannot be left out. We may ask ourselves; What are the conditions created by the drought? I would say these are very hard times for the drought striken area of the country. 136,700 people are in relief camps now and others are seeking relief at the rate of 4,000-6,000 a day. This is a serious situation, and it seems that the areas the drought had affected are so far apart and extensive that we might not be able to handle its effect unless we get assistance from a great many really true friends. You can all imagine the staggering expenses the country would have to incur in feeding, clothing, sheltering and giving medicine and water factilities to 136-700 people and the others who are daily coming into the relief camps.

To take care of all these people in everyway would really be a great task. If 136,700 people were in relief camps last night, you can be sure another 5,000 to 6 had come in since then. When you add this rate of increment odd destitutes over five months, and when you know there is no rain expected for at least seven more months, the number of people who would be destitutes by then staggers the imagination, and the aftermath of the drought would be clossal.

According to our tentative, rough estimates at least 700,000 people would be destitutes. This would also mean that a great part of Somalia's livestock population would be wiped out. In addition to this, the resources we have earmarked for development would have to be met with this emergency. Under these circumstances what is the extent of outside assistance? It is true that some friendly countries have volunterred, to give us assistance for this great emergency, but after how many months will their assistance reach us? It will reach us after we have been spending ten million shillings a day on relief; it will reach us after we have been taking care of our people on our own for one month and a half. The people in relief camps are too many, and the world has given us humanitarian assistances, or would assist us, for at times of calamity, human beings have to help each other. Some countries have given us a mere taken assistance. They must have told themselves "Let us just make our presence get noted without giving them any substantial things". The reason I am explaining these things to you is that, you have to realize that the greater part of the burden of this emergency is going to be on us and we should be ready to take care of our people.

The Somali people have to realize the magnitude of the great responsibilities that circumstances have thrust upon them. What is at stake today is the saving of hundreds of thousands of lives. It is the duty of every Somali, whether he is inside or outside the country, to contribute towards the aleviation of this misery which nature has beset upon his brothers and sisters. Paying deaf ears to this call is tantamount to betraying one's brothers, country and nation at a time of great dancer. I could think of nothing worst than committing such a sin. Every Somali must know, and know it now, that nothing at the disposal of the Somali Government and people would be spared we must be prepared even to divert the salary funds to this emergency, it comes to that in order to save the lives of the drought victims. It is indispensable that every Somali with the tiniest particle of patriotism or humanity should volunteer to help out his brothers and sisters with his brain, energy and resources, and he should give it willingly and with good heart. All of us could do nothing short of that.

Looking after the interest of the Somali people is the constant objective of the Government. To give you an example,the Government had paid 140,000,000 shillings in food subsidies to cover the increase in food prices in world markets. This was done to make possible for the Somali people to buy food at prices much lower than the real value. The purpose of paying food subsidies is to keep food prices down so that the workers, the public and the people can afford to buy at prices they can easilly pay.

Every District had been given the responsibility of distributing food to the people in the relief Camps there. The authorities in each of the drought—striken areas in the country should appoint special people for the management and distribution of food. The people given this task would have to see it that each person in the relief camps should get his daily food allocation. Each person or family, should have identity papers, to make sure that each person, or each family is given the exact quantity of food allocations. It shouldn't happen that some get extra food, through oversight or mistake, and some get less than what they are entitled. There should be a strict fair system of distribution.

The mettle of the Somali nation has been exposed to great test today. They must prove the stuff they are made of for these are times of great trial. The Somali people must be equal to this trial, and must stop anyone, whether he is a treacherous Somali or foreinger, who would want to detract them from their great responsibility.

Long live Somalia

 
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