UN agency says severe drought affects 3.2 million people in Somalia

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FILE: UN said more than 3.2 million people have been affected by worsening drought

MOGADISHU, Somalia - More than 3.2 million people have been affected by worsening drought which is ravaging several parts of Somalia, the United Nations humanitarian agency said Thursday.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) said 2021 (October to December) rainfall season failed, aggravating severe drought in parts of Somalia.

“The worsening drought has affected over 3.2 million people in 66 out of the 74 districts, of whom 245,000 are internally displaced,” UNOCHA said in its latest report on drought situation, warning that the drought is projected to intensify as Somalia faces the risk of the 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.

“This adversely affected crop and livestock production and, in turn, led to a steep decline in household purchasing power and access to food,” it said.

According to the UN agency, families are flocking into towns and others crossing into Ethiopia in search of humanitarian assistance.

At least 15 people have reportedly been killed and several others injured in armed clashes over ownership of grazing land in Laas Caanood district, Sool region as a result of the resource-based conflict.

“Disease outbreaks, mainly due to lack of access to clean and sufficient water and hygiene services, are reportedly on the rise, as the drought worsens, and more people are displaced into congested settlements,” UNOCHA said, noting Somali communities, local authorities and humanitarian partners are scaling-up responses and intensifying resource mobilization efforts to address the impact of the drought.

According to the UNOCHA, the latest food security projections show that 4.6 million Somalis will face crisis-to-emergency-level food insecurity from February to May.

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