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Somali Region ( ); is the eastern-most of the nine ethnic divisions (kililoch) of Ethiopiamarker. It is often called Somalia, though it is not to be confused with the independent country of the same namemarker. Also known as Western Somali and Ogadenia, the capital of Somali State is Jijigamarker. The capital had been at Godemarker/Godey until April 1994, but due to political considerations it was moved.) Other major towns and cities include (the Somali spelling in brackets): Degehaburmarker (Dhagaxbuur), Kebri Daharmarker (Qabridahare), Shilavomarker (Shilaabo), Geladin (Geladi), Kelafomarker (Qalaafe), Werder (Wardheer) and Shinilemarker (Shiniile). The region borders Kenyamarker to the south-west, the Ethopian regions of Oromiamarker, Afarmarker and Dire Dawamarker (Diridhawa) to the west, Djiboutimarker to the north and Somaliamarker to the north, east and south.

The region covers much of the traditional territory of Ogadenmarker and it formed a large part of the pre-1995 province of Hararghe. The region has a very high Somali population, and there is internal pressure to remove Ethiopian rule. There have been attempts to incorporate the area into a Greater Somalia. In the 1970s, Somalia invaded Ethiopia in support of a local guerrilla movement, particularly during the Ogaden War.

In late April 2005, heavy rains generated widespread flooding throughout Somali Region as well as Somalia, and caused the Shebelle Rivermarker to burst its bank. As of May 2005, the flooding in Somali Region alone had caused over 100 confirmed deaths and widespread property damage affecting over 100,000 persons. The floods also destroyed shelters housing 25,000 Somali refugees in Kenyamarker near Dorooro in Ogaden.


Based on the 2007 Census conducted by the Central Statistical Agency of Ethiopia (CSA), the Somali Region has a total population of 4,439,147, consisting of 2,468,784 men and 1,970,363 women; urban inhabitants number 621,210 or 14% of the population. With an estimated area of 279,252 square kilometers, this region has an estimated density of 15.9 people per square kilometer. For the entire region 665,397 households were counted, which results in an average for the Region of 6.6 persons to a household, with urban households having on average 6.3 and rural households 6.7 people. Ethnic groups include Somalis (97.2%), Oromo (0.46%), Amhara (0.66%), foreign-born Somalis (0.20%) and Gurages (0.12%). 98.4% of the population is Muslim, 0.6% Orthodox Christian, and 1.0% are followers of all other religions.

In the previous census, conducted September 1997, the region's population was reported to be 3,439,860, of which 1,875,996 were males and 1,563,864 were females. The urban residents of the Somali Region numbered 492,710 households, with an average of 6.6 persons per household; a high sex ratio of 120 males to 100 females was reported.

The ethnic groups included Somalis (96.23%), Oromo (2.25%), Amhara (0.69%), and Gurages (0.14%). Somali was the working language and is predominantly spoken within the Region, spoken by 95.9% of the inhabitants. Other major languages included Oromifa (2.24%), Amharic (0.92%), and Gurage (0.033%). 98.7% of the population were Muslim, 0.9% Orthodox Christian, and 0.3% are followers of other religions.

According to the CSA, , 38.98% of the total population had access to safe drinking water, of whom 21.32% were rural inhabitants and 77.21% were urban. Values for other reported common indicators of the standard of living for Somali include the following: 71.8% of the inhabitants fall into the lowest wealth quintile; adult literacy for men is 22% and for women 9.8%; and the Regional infant mortality rate is 57 infant deaths per 1,000 live births, which is less than the nationwide average of 77; at least half of these deaths occurred in the infants’ first month of life.


The CSA of Ethiopia estimated in 2005 that farmers in Somalia had a total of 459,720 cattle (representing 1.19%% of Ethiopia's total cattle), 463,000 sheep (2.66%), 650,970 goats (5.02%), 91,550 asses (3.66%), 165,260 camels (36.2%), 154,670 poultry of all species (0.5%), and 5,330 beehives (0.12%). For nomadic inhabitants, the CSA provided two sets of estimates, one based on aerial surveys and the other on more conventional methodology:

Livestock Aerial Survey
(conducted 5-23 Nov.

Conventional survey
(conducted 11 Dec.

Cattle 670,280 130,610
Sheep 6,410,800 250,110
Goats 5,525,460 177,580
Camels 1,041,870 64,510
Asses 42,640 14,290
Mules 430 160
Horses 50 -

Presidents of the Executive Committee

(This list is based on information from


See also


  1. "April 1994 Monthly Situation Report" United Nations Emergencies Unit for Ethiopia (accessed 29 May 2008)
  2. "Census 2007", first draft, Tables 1, 4, 5, 6.
  3. The 1994 National Census was delayed in the Somali Region until 1997. Unfortunately, the Census did not cover all parts of the Region, namely rural kebeles in the following Zones: Shinile, Fiq, Gode, and Afder. The 1994 Population and Housing Census of Ethiopia: Results for Somali Region, vol.1, Chapter 2 "Population size and characteristics"
  4. FDRE States: Basic Information - Somalia, Population (accessed 12 March 2006)
  5. "Households by sources of drinking water, safe water sources" CSA Selected Basic Welfare Indicators (accessed 28 January 2009)
  6. Macro International Inc. "2008. Ethiopia Atlas of Key Demographic and Health Indicators, 2005." (Calverton: Macro International, 2008), pp. 2, 3, 10 (accessed 28 January 2009)
  7. "CSA 2005 National Statistics", Tables D.4 - D.7.

External links

Further reading

  • Tobias Hagmann and Mohamud H. Khalif, "State and politics in Ethiopia's Somali Region since 1991", Bildhaan: An International Journal of Somali Studies, 6 (2006).
  • Tobias Hagmann, "Beyond clannishness and colonialism: understanding political disorder in Ethiopia's Somali Region, 1991- 2004", Journal of Modern African Studies, 43 (2005), #4.

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