Tuesday, January 18

Somalia: Hunger threatens one in four inhabitants due to drought, UN says

Drought-displaced Somali child in a camp on the outskirts of Mogadishu, May 24, 2017 MOHAMED ABDIWAHAB

About one in four people are at risk of severe hunger in Somalia, due to the drought affecting the decades-ravaged country after three seasons of low rainfall and a fourth in sight, the UN warned on Monday.

The United Nations expects the crisis to worsen and 4.6 million people will need food assistance by May 2022, as the country has not had three rainy seasons with low rainfall. ‘in business for over 30 years.

Shortages of food, water and pasture have already forced 169,000 people to leave their homes, a number that could reach 1.4 million within six months, the UN said in a statement.

In recent years, natural disasters – not conflict – have been the main cause of displacement in Somalia, a country ranked among the most vulnerable to climate change.

“It is an incredible disaster that is brewing,” Adam Abdelmoula, UN humanitarian coordinator for Somalia, told AFP, estimating that 300,000 children under five were exposed to severe malnutrition in the months to to come.

“They will die if we do not help them quickly,” he added, as the UN appealed for contributions of $ 1.5 billion to finance the response to the crisis.

About 7.7 million people, or nearly half of Somalia’s population (15.9 million), will need humanitarian assistance and protection in 2022, a 30% increase in one year, according to the UN.

At least seven in ten Somalis live below the poverty line, and the drought has destroyed already precarious sources of income — loss of livestock, reduced harvests — all combined with high inflation.

“The risk is so great that without immediate humanitarian aid, children, women and men will start to starve to death in Somalia,” said Somali Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Crisis Management Khadija Diriye.

The Somali government declared the drought a humanitarian emergency in November.

Drought and flooding also recently hit Kenya and South Sudan, killing herds, destroying pastures and devastating crops.

Water and food scarcity raise fears of a risk of conflict between communities over resources.

Experts believe that the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events is increasing, attributing it to climate change.


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