The debilitating impact of climate change

Somalia and the UN have called for urgent action to mitigate the impact of worsening drought, saying more than 116,000 people have already been displaced by extreme water shortages since October 2020.

In a joint statement issued in Mogadishu on Sunday, the government and the humanitarian community warned that high levels of population displacement are expected in the coming weeks and months.

“Compounding the effects of the various crises in this country, support to people in Somalia this year is needed now more than ever before. I am appealing to donors to give generously and to give now, to fund a rapid drought mitigation response,” Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, Khadija Diriye said.

Diriye said Somalia is facing widespread food insecurity, malnutrition, population displacement and disease.”We need funding now to save lives, alleviate suffering and get assistance out before the situation becomes a complete catastrophe,” she added.

Several parts of the Horn of African nation are facing critical water shortages, with more than 50 districts facing moderate to severe drought conditions, the UN said.

The situation is particularly concerning as forecasts indicate a second consecutive season of below-average rainfall during the April to June Gu season. Current forecasts indicate little to no rainfall for most parts of Somalia through the third week of April.

Adam Abdelmoula, UN humanitarian coordinator for Somalia said the Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) is currently only 4.1 percent funded and expressed concern Somalia is faced with increasing needs with diminishing resources.”We can mitigate the impact of drought, but urgent and immediate action is needed now as experience has taught us from the response to the 2016/17 severe drought,” said Abdelmoula.

According to the UN, drought conditions add an additional layer of complexity to already unprecedented needs, driving communities to use unsafe coping mechanisms, at a time when communities are already struggling with the impact of COVID-19, continued desert locust infestation, armed conflict, political instability and widespread food insecurity.

The cumulative impact is dire, with the cost of water skyrocketing by 54 percent in some areas, further exacerbating the vulnerability of women and children who now must walk further distances to collect water, the UN said.

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