Charity says over 300,000 Somalis displaced by conflict, drought in 9 months

somali refugees

More than 300,000 people have been displaced between January and September in Somalia largely due to drought and conflict, a global charity said on Tuesday.

A total of 302,000 people were displaced between January and September this year, according to the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) and UNHCR-led Protection Return and Monitoring Network (PRMN).

NRC said insecurity is making it virtually impossible for humanitarians to provide aid in rural areas and is resulting in vulnerable people moving to overcrowded camps in urban areas for assistance.

“The crushing effect of drought has stripped rural communities of their crops, livestock and water sources, while armed conflict closes in on their homes. We are now likely to see 2.1 million Somali people suffering from hunger by December and into 2020,” Victor Moses, country director for NRC said in a statement.

“This population needs aid. But when insecurity restricts us from delivering it, many people are forced to leave conflict-hit areas to seek it out,” Moses said.

According to the charity, conflict and insecurity accounted for more than half of all displacements (158,000) while drought (126,000) caused extreme hardship for many.

The charity said flooding and other factors were cited as drivers of displacement for more than 20,000 others.

The PRMN recorded the highest number of displacements in July with almost 52,000 people arriving at overcrowded camps and settlements looking for food (39 percent), livelihoods (19 percent) and shelter (18 percent).

The period coincided with the end of a very poor harvest season and the steep increase in the price of staple cereal grains. According to the UN, the southern Gu season harvests were the worst recorded since 1995.

Moses said Somali people that fled the country for protection elsewhere are now coming back to find themselves in a desperate situation.

“Armed conflict restricts opportunities, the impact of the drought is severely affecting livelihoods and more often than not, people end up relying on aid to survive,” he added.

The Horn of Africa nation is home to some 35,000 registered refugees and asylum seekers mainly from Ethiopia and war-torn Yemen, and an additional 38,000 Somali refugees that have returned from Yemen since March 2015, according to NRC.

NRC called on donors and governments to increase emergency aid for the Somalia crisis, reiterating that an already disastrous humanitarian situation risks deteriorating even further if needs are not met. Enditem

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