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UN warns on Somalia’s rapidly worsening drought

The United Nations warned that the “rapidly deteriorating” drought in Somalia has left more than 2 million people facing severe food and water shortages.

According to a joint statement issued by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the Somali government on Thursday night, the Horn of Africa is now “on the brink of failure for the fourth consecutive rainy season.”

The statement said: “Approximately 2.3 million people in 57 out of 74 districts-nearly 20% of the population in the affected areas have been ravaged by severe water, food, and pasture shortages due to dry water trays and boreholes. “The statement said, adding that climate change is one of the main driving factors.

It is estimated that more than 80% of Somalia is experiencing severe drought.
The severe situation has forced an estimated 100,000 people to flee their homes in search of food, water, and pasture for their livestock.

In recent years, natural disasters—not conflicts—have been the main driver of displacement in Somalia, and this war-torn country is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to the effects of climate change.

Since 1990, Somalia has experienced more than 30 climate-related disasters, including 12 droughts and 19 floods.

The statement said: “The frequency and severity of climate-related hazards are increasing.”

Adam Abdul Mulla, the United Nations Resident in Somalia and Humanitarian Coordinator, said, “Somalia is brewing a perfect storm.” He called for urgent action to prevent the famine from spreading.

Somalia’s Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, Kadija Diriye, warned that families could starve to death because they lost their livestock and plunged into deeper poverty.

“I am particularly worried that children, women, the elderly and the disabled continue to bear the impact of the humanitarian crisis in Somalia,” she said.

The water levels of the Juba and Shabelle rivers are low and are expected to drop further in the coming months.

Most berkads-small reservoirs-and shallow wells have dried up, leaving communities dependent on boreholes that are far apart and often have low yields and poor water quality. It is expected that most agricultural areas will have poor harvests.

The drought conditions are expected to worsen in December 2021 and the first quarter of 2022. In 2017, Somalia was affected by a severe drought, which affected more than 6 million people and caused a catastrophic humanitarian situation among herders and agricultural populations.


With information from: https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/11/19/un-sounds-alarm-on-somalias-rapidly-worsening-drought


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