Already overstretched, aid agencies in Somalia need more resources to tackle severe drought – UN

Worsening drought conditions have left hundreds of thousands of Somalis facing severe food and water shortages. Photo: OCHA Somalia

2 December 2016 – The United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, Peter de Clercq, appealed today for an urgent scale-up in humanitarian assistance, with relief agencies already overstretched as the country faces severe drought conditions, including food and water shortages.

“Drought in Puntland and Somaliland has deepened and spread to southern and central regions of the country […] the situation has become increasingly desperate for vulnerable families in need,” he told a briefing with the international community in Nairobi, highlighting the urgency of responding to the drought situation in Somalia.

Describing the situation as “extremely worrying” and one that could deteriorate rapidly without a stepped-up response, Mr. de Clercq, added that humanitarian organizations are in urgent need of additional resources to tackle the drought situation and help the country cope with other crises.

Against this backdrop, he noted that the 2016 Humanitarian Response Plan has received just 47 per cent of the total $885 million request, with only four weeks left in the year.

The UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports that families and communities, especially in the north, are already facing below average rainfall and many of them are adopting desperate measures to survive. Even the current ‘Deyr’ rainy season so far has been poor across most parts of Somalia, potentially resulting in significant crop and pasture losses.

Further, more than 40 per cent of the country’s population, nearly five million people, does not have sufficient food, with more than one million of that number in a state of crisis and emergency. More than 50,000 children are severely malnourished, and 320,000 under the age of five are acutely malnourished, making all those children most vulnerable during the current drought.

Several appeals for humanitarian assistance were issued to deal with the drought and highlight the urgency of the situation, including an appeal made by the President of Somalia on 12 November, and several ones issued by state authorities in Jubbaland, Puntland, Somaliland, and Galmudug.

Moreover, increased displacement related to conflict is another issue in the region. The withdrawal of international troops presented additional humanitarian challenges, as nearly 5,000 people have been displaced in Hiraan and Bakool regions, and another 29,000 in Lower Shabelle.


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