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Somalia: UN warns quarter of population at risk of starvation due to drought

Somalia: UN warns quarter of population at risk of starvation due to drought

Somalia is experiencing a lack of rain for three consecutive seasons for the first time in 30 years The UN warned Monday that a quarter of the population in Somalia is at risk of starvation, due to the drought in this country that has been devastated by decades of war, after rainfall decreased for three consecutive seasons, with the possibility of recording a fourth expansion.

The UN expects the crisis to get worse, with 4.6 million people needing food aid by May 2022. The country is witnessing a lack of rain for three consecutive seasons, which has not happened in 30 years.

The lack of food, water and pasture has already driven 169,000 people from their homes, and the number could reach 1.4 million within six months, the United Nations said in a statement.

“We may face an unprecedented catastrophe,” Adam Abdel Mawla, the UN humanitarian coordinator in Somalia, was quoted by Agence France-Presse as saying, and he expected 300,000 children under the age of five to be severely malnourished in the coming months.

“They will die if we don’t help them quickly,” he added, as the UN appealed for $1.5 billion in donations to fund the response to the crisis.

The UN says about 7.7 million people, equivalent to half of Somalia’s population (15.9 million), will need humanitarian assistance and protection in 2022, a 30 percent increase in one year.

At least seven out of ten Somalis live below the poverty line, while the lack of rain has severely disrupted crops and affected communities that depend on raising livestock. This is associated with high inflation.

“The danger is so great that without immediate humanitarian assistance, children, women and men will starve to death in Somalia,” said Khadija Dire, Somalia’s Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management.

In November, the Somali government declared the drought a humanitarian emergency. Recently, drought and floods also hit Kenya and South Sudan, resulting in the death of herds and the destruction of pastures and crops.

It is feared that the scarcity of water and food could lead to conflict between local communities over access to resources. Experts attribute the increase in the severity of weather events to climate change.

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