Somalia: Drought poses serious food insecurity, calls for help amid drought threat
Drought-like conditions have prevailed in six areas of the country.
In Somalia, 40 percent of the population is in dire straits due to drought, sharp rise in food prices and lack of funds for humanitarian relief. Drought has seriously affected the lives and livelihoods of ordinary people.
Resources for humanitarian aid remain scarce in response to growing needs and the number of people facing extreme levels of food insecurity has doubled since the beginning of this year.
Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), UN Office for Coordination in Humanitarian Relief Affairs (OCHA), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and World Food Program The WFP on Tuesday issued a joint appeal calling for immediate relief funding for life-saving aid in Somalia.
In 2022, under the Humanitarian Aid Scheme for Somalia, $ 1.5 billion was appealed, but only 4.4 percent of its funds were managed.
Crisis situations in many other parts of the world, including the war in Ukraine, have proved challenging for Somalia to raise enough funds.
The acute hunger and malnutrition crisis, growing food insecurity and lack of available resources have forced UN agencies and programs to make difficult decisions to identify and reach those in need.
The World Food Program says the situation is such that people who do not have enough food may be forced to take food from them and deliver it to those suffering from hunger.
Al-Khidir Dalom, the UN agency’s country director, said this year was one of “unprecedented humanitarian needs and famine”, but “I urge the world not to turn its back on Somalia or wait until it is too late.” Millions of lives are at stake. ”
Fear of drought
The next three months – April to June 2022 – are considered very important by the UN agencies. The risk of drought will increase if there is not enough rain during these months, adequate humanitarian aid is not provided, and food prices continue to rise.
With supply chain disruption and rising commodity prices due to the war in Ukraine, Somalia is facing a severe storm that could soon turn into a drought.
In Somalia UN Secretary General US Deputy Special Representative and Resident Coordinator Adam Abdelmola said the threat of drought in six places was a matter of grave concern and the warning should be taken seriously.
“The reality is that time is not on our side and more lives and livelihoods will be lost if funding is delayed.”
According to UN agencies, this reflects the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the country – millions of Somalis are losing their ability to cope with the crisis and the growing population is finding it increasingly difficult to meet the needs of a growing population due to a lack of funding.
The first humanitarian catastrophe in Somalia was in 2011 when a famine in the country killed about 2.5 million people.
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UNICEF / Sebastian Rich
Humanitarian relief agencies provided assistance to about 2 million people in February 2022, but they say funding from donors is insufficient.
If funding for relief work is not provided soon, it will increase the risk of a large-scale drought.
Abdelmola, UN Resident Coordinator, said: “I urge the administration and our development partners to take decisive action and increase resources to meet the rapidly growing needs, save extra lives and help Somalia. To save more livelihoods for the people.”
Child malnutrition crisis
Children under the age of five are most at risk if the drought is severe. Food and milk are not accessible due to death of animals and increase in prices of food items.
An estimated 1.4 million children will be malnourished by the end of this year, of which 1.25 million are expected to get worse.
Angela Kerney, a representative of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Somalia, said the lives of children were in danger and that losing children to starvation would be a blow to humanity.
He said that opportunities for children could be enhanced in the future by taking measures to cope with the drought related situation.