L’UN expects the crisis to worsen and 4.6 million people will need food assistance by May 2022, as the country has not had three consecutive low-rainfall rainy seasons since over 30 years.
Shortages of food, water and pasture have already forced 169,000 people to leave their homes, a number which could reach 1.4 million within 6 months, continues theUN in a press release.
In recent years, natural disasters – not conflict – have been the main cause of displacement in Somalia, a country ranked among the most vulnerable to climate change.
It’s an incredible disaster that is brewing, explained to the AFP Adam Abdelmoula, humanitarian coordinator of the UN for Somalia, estimating that 300,000 children under 5 were exposed to severe malnutrition in the coming months.
They will die if we don’t help them quickly, he added, while the UN launched a call for contributions of 1.5 billion dollars to finance the response to the crisis.
About 7.7 million people, or nearly half of Somalia’s population (15.9 million), will need humanitarian assistance and protection in 2022, a 30% increase in one year, according to’UN.
At least seven in ten Somalis live below the poverty line, and the drought has destroyed already precarious sources of income – loss of livestock, reduced harvests – all combined with high inflation.
The risk is so great that without immediate humanitarian assistance, children, women and men will start to starve to death in Somalia., said Somali Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Crisis Management, Khadija Diriye.
The Somali government declared the drought a humanitarian emergency in November. Drought and flooding also recently hit Kenya and South Sudan, killing herds, destroying pastures and devastating crops.
Water and food shortages raise fears of a risk of conflict between communities over resources. Experts believe that the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events is increasing, attributing it to climate change.