1.4 million people could be forced from their homes

MOGADISHU (AXADLE) – Somalia’s escalating drought is creating a massive displacement crisis. 245,000 people have already fled their homes, and the number is expected to reach 1.4 million as the drought worsens.

“Somalia’s drought is escalating dangerously after three failed rainy seasons and some of the lowest rainfall in 40 years,” said Mohamed Abdi, country director of the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) in Somalia. “Without urgent preventive action to remedy the crisis, lives will be lost.”

A quarter of a million people have had no choice but to leave their homes since the beginning of 2021, as they face life-threatening water and food shortages. Humanitarian efforts are under way, but the resources available are insufficient to meet growing and urgent needs.

The NRC’s humanitarian staff across the country are reporting an increasing number of dead livestock, malnourished children, drought-related deaths and people seeking help. Women, children and the elderly are hardest hit.

“I fled with my children and arrived here, we had no other option,” said Ebla Abdi, a mother of five who traveled 200 kilometers to a displacement camp in Kismayo in southern Somalia. “We had 30 cows, but many of them died due to the drought.”

“All my cattle succumbed to the drought. I lost 75 cows in a single night,” said Markaba Bulle, a 90-year-old grandmother displaced by drought when she arrived at the same camp. “We went for eight days to get here.”

Preventive measures, including the provision of drinking water, food, basic income and livelihood support, are essential to avoid further displacement. Similar support, as well as shelter, is required for those who are already forced to leave their homes. The NRC aims to provide this support to half a million of those hardest hit.

“To avert the humanitarian catastrophe unfolding before our eyes, we call on donor countries to make the necessary funding available to provide lifesaving assistance to the millions of people affected by one of the worst droughts of the year. last decade, “Abdi said.

According to data from the Protection and Monitoring Returns Network (PRMN), 147,000 people have been displaced due to drought alone in the previous three months.

At present, 3,200,000 people in Somalia – a fifth of the population – are affected by drought. Recent projections from the IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) estimate that up to 1,415,000 people could be displaced in the next six months.

The drought has serious consequences for society, including food and water insecurity, malnutrition, rising commodity prices, loss of crops and livestock, and security risks, including gender-based violence and conflicts over natural resources.

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