Half of Somalia’s population is in grip of severe food need against backdrop of drought and insurgency
Somalia’s special envoy for humanitarian issues has said more than six million people in the east African nation are affected by a devastating drought the country experiencing at present.
Addressing a news conference in Mogadishu on Monday, Abdurahman Abdishakur Warsameh said the number of people suffering is fast approaching half of Somalia’s population. Warsameh said the drought has hit 72 of Somalia’s 84 districts and that six of them were already facing famine-like conditions with extreme food insecurity.
He says our people are starting to die now. Deaths have begun, famine is looming in some areas, and drought is turning into famine. Warsameh says the Somali people at home and abroad should help us in taking on some of the responsibility.
The special envoy did not give any figures on how many Somalis have died from hunger but appealed for aid to reach those in need. Warsameh said the current drought, the worst in forty years, had displaced nearly 700,000 Somalis from the countryside and forced them to seek help in nearby cities.
He said the UN and aid agencies requested $1.4 billion for drought relief but so far received only $58 million. Warsameh said international aid was more focused on the Covid pandemic, Russia’s war on Ukraine, and crises in Afghanistan, Syria, and Yemen.
The humanitarian envoy also said not much attention is given to humanitarian needs because of Somalia’s focus on politics last year and a half of delayed elections.
International aid agencies warned Monday that the threat of starvation was worsening in Somalia and neighbouring countries across Ethiopia and Kenya.
The Horn of Africa region is facing a record fifth rainy season without adequate rain, according to meteorological experts and humanitarian groups, which include UN agencies.