FAO seeks US$4.15 million to protect pastoralist assets in Somalia amid drought

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FAO Africa

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) on Friday appealed for 4.15 million U.S. dollars to protect pastoralist assets through livestock treatment for 15 million animals and to meet the food needs of 12,500 rural households in Southern Somalia.

The FAO said its emergency response in Somalia saves lives and livelihoods by providing cash transfers to vulnerable rural households to meet immediate food needs while providing critically needed supplementary livestock feed, water and treatment to pastoral communities amid a worsening drought.

“The drought conditions triggered by failed rains have already destroyed crops and killed livestock,” it said in a statement issued in Mogadishu.

According to the latest Drought Bulletin issued by FAO’s Somalia Water and Land Information Management (FAO SWALIM) Unit, Somalia is enduring its third consecutive poor rain season since late 2020.

The report says the southern regions of Somalia are now enduring severe drought while the northeastern regions of the country are facing a widespread moderate drought.

If drought conditions are to worsen as expected in December and into the first quarter of 2022, it could lead to a similar situation witnessed in 2016/2017, FAO SWALIM said.

It said the impacts of climate change and variability in Somalia are major causes of the current climatic hazards that the country has faced over the last decade.

Ugo Leonardi, SWALIM Technical Adviser said climate change continues to induce recurrent droughts and erratic weather patterns resulting in widespread displacement, hunger, malnutrition and increased poverty.

“The negative rainfall anomalies, coupled with the outlook of depressed rainfalls in the country in November, indicate that they will not be enough to mitigate the drought conditions we’re witnessing,” Leonardi said.

The FAO said the severe drought conditions come at a time when an estimated 3.5 million Somalis already face acute food insecurity, and the number of severely malnourished children is also on the rise.

“Farmers and herders are forced to walk increasingly long distances in search of pasture and water, and the drought has had a devastating impact on their lives and livelihoods,” the report says.

It says a situation that is worsening as international prices reached a ten-year high in October with imported rice prices in northern and central Somalia up by 50 percent and the prices of maize and sorghum up 30-60 percent in southern markets due to low supply. Enditem

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