Somalia: Drought displaces 745,000 people

MOGADISHU (AXADLE) Three-quarters of a million people have now been forced out of their homes due to the worsening drought in Somalia. With famine looming and conflict in Ukraine driving up food costs, the situation is reversing.

After three failed rainy seasons, 745,000 people have been displaced by drought in Somalia since the beginning of last year, of which 500,000 in the first quarter of 2022, the latest figures from the Protection and Return Monitoring Network show.

Of those displaced this year, nearly two-thirds fled to urban areas, including Mogadishu, increasing pressure on already limited services and overcrowded displacement camps.

“As Somalia hits this tragic milestone, where hundreds of thousands of people are forced to flee in search of food and water, the international community must finally take action,” said Mohamed Abdi, country director of the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) in Somalia.

“The people of Somalia are facing a very real risk of famine. There is a desperate need for help to save lives, with urgent financial support, and it is needed now, not in a few months.”

The forecasts for April-June rain are poor. Somalia faces the prospect of famine if the rains fail and do not help.

Drought has contributed to loss of income, conflicts, displacement, rising costs of basic commodities and the annihilation of crops and livestock herds, which has resulted in the current food and displacement crisis. An injection of funds from international donors can help curb the worst effects.

“In 2011, more than a quarter of a million people died as a result of drought and famine – we will regret our inaction if we let history repeat itself,” Abdi said. “Even if the worst case scenario is avoided., The damage has already been done and will be massive, with dehydrated crops and dead livestock driving hunger and suffering that can be prevented in the foreseeable future.”

It is exacerbating the situation, and almost all of Somalia’s wheat comes from Ukraine or Russia, and the prices of wheat, sugar and oil are already rising in parts of the country.

To date, the UN’s 2022 humanitarian response plan is less than five percent funded, which means devastating shortcomings to meet Somalia’s record-breaking humanitarian needs. The NRC is currently appealing for $ 20 million to support its ongoing efforts to help more than half a million of those hardest hit with drinking water, food, basic income and livelihood support.

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