UN urged to step up efforts to save lives in Somalia amid drought

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Somalia

The international community must step up humanitarian efforts to save lives amid severe drought in Somalia, two aid agencies said on Thursday.

The United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) and the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) said in a joint statement issued in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, that the devastating drought in Somalia has reached record levels, with one million people now registered as displaced.

“While we and humanitarian partners are doing what we can to respond, we simply have insufficient resources. The international community must step up to save lives and support this humanitarian response,” UNHCR’s Representative in Somalia Magatte Guisse said.

More than 755,000 people have been internally displaced in Somalia because of the severe drought this year, bringing the total figure to one million people since January 2021 when the drought began, according to displacement figures released by UNHCR and NRC.

Guisse said vulnerable communities are the hardest hit by the effects of the climate crisis, leaving many families unprotected and increasing displacement.
UNHCR in June appealed for 9.5 million U.S. dollars for Somalia, as part of its regional appeal for the Horn of Africa to help displaced communities affected by the catastrophic drought.

It said the number of people facing crisis hunger levels in Somalia is expected to rise from some 5 million to more than 7 million in the coming months, exacerbated by the effects of climate change, and rising food prices because of the conflict in Ukraine.

Mohamed Abdi, NRC’s Country Director in Somalia, said the Somalia situation was already one of the most underfunded before this latest crisis, adding that the one million milestone serves as a massive alarm bell for Somalia.

“Starvation is now haunting the entire country. We are seeing more and more families forced to leave everything behind because there is literally no water or food left in their villages. Aid funding urgently needs to be ramped up before it is too late,” Abdi said.

According to the UN, Somalia is witnessing a two-year historic dry spell, a situation not seen in more than 40 years, and an expected fifth failed rainy season is bound to displace many more families, as famine looms on the horizon. Enditem

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