MOGADISHU, Feb. 8– An estimated 4.3 million people have been affected by the severe drought which is ravaging several parts of Somalia, up from 3.2 million a month ago, the United Nations humanitarian agency said on Monday.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) said the escalating drought has seen some 271,000 have abandoned their homes in search of water, food and pasture. “With the next rainy season not expected until April 2022, Somalia is staring at a potential catastrophe,” UNOCHA warned in its latest drought response released in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia.
It said the UN Central Emergency Response Fund has allocated 25 million U.S. dollars for the drought response and the Somalia Humanitarian Fund has complemented this funding with an allocation of 6 million dollars; a second allocation is underway. Additional funding for priority sectors is urgently required to save lives and livelihoods, including substantive and early funding for the 2022 Somalia Humanitarian Response Plan.
“Severe water shortages and inadequate access to sanitation and hygiene facilities have heightened the risk of disease outbreaks,” the UNOCHA said. It warned that the drought is projected to intensify as Somalia faces the risk of a fourth consecutive failed rainy season in early 2022.
The UN agency said the drought is compounding severe vulnerabilities and humanitarian needs caused by decades of protracted conflict and insecurity, climate shocks and disease outbreaks. It said thousands of children have dropped out of school as parents can no longer afford to pay fees, adding that food insecurity is increasing and malnutrition is high in drought-affected areas.
According to the UNOCHA, local communities, authorities and humanitarian partners are scaling up assistance and intensifying resource mobilization, guided by the drought response plan. – XINHUA