Compared to the image of starving refuges fleeing a war torn wasteland, which is the common perception of East Africa, the Awdal region is relatively affluent. The chaos of the Somalian civil war and its aftermath has not ravaged this area quite so much as the rest of the country. For example, the residents of Awdal enjoy the region's most advanced telecomunications network, with fairly reliable cell phone service and internet access. Additionally, agriculture, mining and industry in the area are all profitable enough to allow a comfortable standard of living for the majority of residents, by Sub-Saharan standards. The Somalians in Awdal are doing better in anarchy than they did under Siad Barre's socialism.