weather woes in Jigiga and Hargeisa keep people at home

Severe cold weather conditions are causing havoc in Jigjiga, Hargeisa and Addis-Ababa causing travel disruptions across Ethiopia. Temperatures have dropped to lowest points in Ethiopia for the first time in years as strong winds bring chilling cold in most parts of Ethiopia. Thick Clouds have formed all over the sky delaying air and land travels within Ethiopia. Places in our Somali state are among the few places hardly hit by the extreme snow.

Summer is always at a time of extreme cold in Ethiopia but this year feels like a different atmosphere. In my hometown Jigjiga, People are freezing in the streets as temperatures drop low. Ethiopia lies in the tropical latitude and enjoys relatively moderate to tropical weather throughout the year. In south eastern parts of Ethiopia where the altitude is lower than the main Ethiopian highlands, it’s sunny and dry mostly in the year. This summer is pretty unusual as the cold doubles down roughly two fold causing some travel delays within the country. The extreme weather is going to put schools in halt if it continues to deteriorate a bit longer than usual and may contribute to the ongoing impact of Covid-19. Researchers associate the spread of Covid-19 with the nature of climate in different places of the world as we have already witnessed some spikes in cold weather countries. See some pictures in our town.

Karamardha hill covered by a ticket fog
Road leading up to Karamardha hill

Some flights to and from Addis Ababa-Ababa have been canceled due to the change in weather system. Yesterday a flight en-route to our city Jigjiga was unable to land at the airport and was later redirected back to Addis. There’s no travel warning issued by the Ethiopian metrology agency but the extreme cold seems serious and real. Even though I’m not in Addis, some of the pictures I’m seeing show wet streets and too much traffic congestion in the streets. It seems like it rains there every day.

A picture of Addis-Ababa today.

Hargeisa is covered by clouds and the cold in day and night is utterly unbearable, however it seems that Jigjiga is colder than here. Who knows? It’s just what I hear every day from my friends there as they post pictures of themselves wrapped with blankets. This time around, street people and unaccompanied kids are the ones who suffer the bitterness of the summer cold here with no shelter provided with them. Somalis besides their problems are known with their generosity and compassion and- – at times like cold and drought season, communities often step up for support to the needy. Last year, there were some fundraising projects that centered around people in need at times of crises and I hope this time, the community will step in to give warmth to these street people.

A street vegetable seller in Hargeisa town covers herself with a plastic bag when it rained hard.

I’m not a weather person and it’s not actually my favorite topic but I hope I gave you a sense of what our skies and weather feels and look like both home and here in Somaliland.

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