Somalia: Drought intensifies, increasing risk of famine

Somalia: Drought intensifies, increasing risk of famine

350,000 children will die in the summer without funding. But now only 4% of the requirement is allowed

[29 Marzo 2022]

The Horn of Africa is facing its worst drought since 1981, with a lack of aid funding endangering the lives of millions of people, including millions of internally displaced persons who have fled their homes in search of food, water and shelter.

In the Luke district of Gedo province, the flow of the Juba River has been steadily declining for more than three months, now reduced to a few muddy ponds. As the water evaporates, the hopes of local communities – mostly farmers and herdsmen – who depend on the river for their livelihood, like many others in Somalia, are dwindling as their crops wither and their livestock dry up. Is dying.

Salado Madir Mursal, a 28-year-old mother, sought help at the camp for internally displaced persons. A said UN News: “We lost everything in the drought. We need food, shelter, water and other basic necessities.”

After decades of tribal and sectarian wars, unsuccessful international military intervention (including Italian involvement), repeated climate shocks, epidemics, and diseases including the devastation of the Kovid-19 pandemic, the humanitarian situation in Somalia is already devastating. Even before the current drought, about 7.7 million Somalis needed humanitarian assistance and protection this year, an increase of 30% over the same period in 2021. A news He emphasizes that “the current drought is wiping out crops, and livestock are dying due to lack of water and pasture, and many pastoral communities have lost their only source of income.”

Adam Abdul Moula, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Somalia, recalls, “The country has experienced three consecutive seasons of failed rains. The fourth is expected to be below average, which is expected to last from April to June.

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The UN and its partners are strongly committed to providing humanitarian assistance. Together they helped 1.6 million people in February, but they are working with the Somali federal authorities to raise more funds for emergency humanitarian assistance. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), “Somalia is currently one of the worst-hit countries in Africa. About 4.5 million Somalis were directly affected by the drought and about 700,000 people fled.

Abdul Moula confirms: “As we speak, 1.4 million children under the age of 5 are severely malnourished, and if our response does not increase, 350,000 of them are expected to die this summer. The situation will not be worse. Therefore, I invite everyone who can contribute, including Somali expats, the business community, and traditional and non-traditional donors to work and work now.

Under the Somalia 2022 Humanitarian Response Plan, the UN is asking for about $ 1.5 billion to provide humanitarian assistance to the country’s most vulnerable 5.5 million people, including 1.6 million internally displaced persons and 3.9 million deported and disabled people. But so far it has reached only $ 56.1 million, about 4% of what is urgently needed.

Thousands of displaced people are living in look camps, one of the newest being Fatuma Mother Mursal, who, after several days of walking, was able to reach the Boyle Displaced Persons Camp with her family, where there are already more than 4,000 people. Of help. Mursal, 39, a mother of 6, explains: “We were farmers, we had our own livestock, but all the animals died in the drought. We have nothing left, we came here for water, food, shelter and help. Boyles is one of several camps that have sprung up across Somalia, where frustrated people are hoping for international help.

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Ali Qadi, the commissioner and administrator of the local district in Luke, was disappointed: “All of this is serious and one of the biggest tragedies facing Somalia today. Displaced communities have no shelter, no water, no medicine, no food, and depend on aid. Drought has wiped out everything, and if the survivors do not receive immediate humanitarian assistance, they too are likely to die.

UN humanitarian agencies are working with global partners to improve the situation. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has been supplying water to refugee camps and constructing water tanks and toilets to improve sanitation. At Look District Hospital, partly funded by UNICEF, the UN agency for children, it collaborates with Irish NGO Trocare to treat, feed and stabilize children hospitalized due to severe malnutrition. The head nurse at the hospital, Somali Abdurrahman Mohammed Qasim, said: “Sixty-two malnourished children were admitted in January. It rose to 100 in February and 114 by March 21. As soon as these children arrive at the hospital, we give them milk for the primary and secondary stages of malnutrition and we replace them after they recover. Other food centers where they get energy biscuits and treatments for other ailments.

At Look, the World Food Program (WFP) runs food stamps and cash programs for vulnerable groups in Somalia, and provides prevention, healing and nutritional support for women and children. The WFP is stepping up its response, aiming to provide food assistance to 2.5 million people in the first half of this year, but – like many other UN agencies – can only do so if it receives more funding; In this case, it would cost about $ 203 million to fill the funding gap.

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One of Luke’s internally displaced people knows nothing about the dilapidated roads that carry humanitarian aid to Somalia, its needs and the needs of millions of Somali evacuees who are starving: We are suffering, food, water and shelter are not enough.

Meanwhile, Isha Diffan, an independent UN expert on the human rights situation in Somalia from Sierra Leone, arrived in Somalia today and will pay her first official visit to the country until April 2, following a human rights appointment. “Assess, monitor and report on the human rights situation in Somalia to make recommendations on technical assistance and capacity building in the human rights field”.

Defane will meet with state officials, including women, human rights development, justice, youth, sports ministers and parliamentarians. He will also meet with representatives of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), UN agencies, civil society and NGOs. In addition, after visiting the capital, Mogadishu, an independent UN expert will travel to one of the Somali federal states to monitor and assess the human rights situation, focusing on economic, social and cultural rights. Defan (UNAMID), former international advocacy manager of Amnesty International and former head of the human rights division of the UN Hybrid Operations in Darfur, Sudan, will present its final report at the UN Human Rights Council session with its findings and recommendations. September.

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