Saturday November 16, 2019

UN: 5.4 Million Face Food Shortage in Somalia Due to Climate-Related Droughts

This latest disaster comes just as Somalis were beginning to recover from the devastating impact of a two-year drought that ended in 2017

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global hunger
Somalis fleeing hunger in their drought-stricken nation walk along the main road leading from the Somalian border to the refugee camps around Dadaab, Kenya. VOA

The United Nations Refugee Agency warns an estimated 5.4 million people affected by worsening drought in Somalia will likely face severe food shortages by next month without immediate lifesaving assistance.

The U.N. Refugee Agency reports that climate-related droughts are occurring with greater frequency in Somalia. This, it says, is making things worse for the millions of people already displaced and deprived of essential necessities by the country’s chronic instability and conflict.

This latest disaster comes just as Somalis were beginning to recover from the devastating impact of a two-year drought that ended in 2017.

somalia, food shortage, drought
FILE – A Somali family who lost most of their livestock because of severe drought pose for a picture in Wajaale, Somalia, June 2017. (UNHCR/Mustafa Saeed) VOA

That event forced more than a million people to flee their homes in search of food, water and work. The UNHCR reports the current drought has displaced nearly 50,000 people so far this year.

Agency spokesman Babar Baloch says food shortages already are biting. He warns time is running out to help those affected, as the impact of the worsening drought is likely to peak by next month. He said the condition of some 2.2 million people is particularly severe, and they likely will need urgent emergency assistance.

“The risk of death and the dangers that the displaced population or the affected population are facing are real,” he told VOA. “If aid is not provided in time, people could start losing their lives. Let us not forget that in the past years that with efforts of the international community, local authorities and everyone else, famine has been avoided.”

somalia, drought, food shortage
Women who fled drought queue to receive food distributed by local volunteers at a camp for displaced persons in the Daynile neighborhood on the outskirts of Mogadishu, in Somalia, May 18, 2019. VOA

But not every year. In 2011, drought and famine in Somalia killed more than one-quarter of a million people, half of them children under age five.

U.N. agencies agree many lessons have been learned from that tragedy. Baloch says many of the support mechanisms that since have been successfully used to combat such disasters could be quickly reactivated to deal with this crisis.

ALSO READ: Somalia Drought: 2 Million at Risk of Starvation

But he says this can only be done if the money needed to contend with this humanitarian emergency is forthcoming.

Unfortunately, he says the Somali operation remains severely underfunded. He says only 20% of the U.N.’s $710 million appeal for Somali drought relief has been received. (VOA)

Next Story

Elephant Death Toll in Zimbabwe Rises to 200 Amid Severe Drought

He says animals including giraffe, buffalo and impala are also dying and the situation can improve only after rains return

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Zimbabwe, Elephants, Drought
FILE - A herd of elephants walk past a watering hole in Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe, Oct. 14, 2014. VOA

Zimbabwe’s parks agency says more than 200 elephants have died amid a severe drought, and a mass relocation of animals is planned to ease congestion.Zimbabwe

Spokesman Tinashe Farawo on Tuesday said at least 200 elephants have died in vast Hwange National Park alone since October and other parks are affected.

He says animals including giraffe, buffalo and impala are also dying and the situation can improve only after rains return.

Zimbabwe, Elephants, Drought
Spokesman Tinashe Farawo on Tuesday said at least 200 elephants have died in vast Hwange National Park alone since October and other parks are affected. Pixabay

Many animals are straying from Zimbabwe’s parks into nearby communities in search of food and water. The parks agency has said 33 people have died from conflict with animals this year alone.

Also Read- Nairobi Hosts International Conference on Population and Development

The agency says it plans to move 600 elephants, two prides of lions and other animals from the Save Valley Conservancy in the southeast to less congested parks. (VOA)