Somalia: hunger threatens one in four inhabitants – sciences et Avenir

About one in four people is at risk of severe hunger in Somalia, due to the drought that has affected the country devastated for decades after three seasons of low rainfall and a quarter in sight, the UN warns on December 20, 2021 .

“It is an incredible disaster what is brewing”

The United Nations expects the crisis to worsen and 4.6 million people will need food assistance by May 2022, as the country has not had three rainy seasons with little rainfall in business for more than 30 years. Shortages of food, water and grass have already forced 169,000 people to flee their homes, a figure that could reach 1.4 million in six months, the UN said in a statement.

In recent years, natural disasters, not conflict, have been the leading cause of displacement in Somalia, a country ranked among the most vulnerable to climate change. “It is an incredible disaster that is brewing,” Adam Abdelmoula, the UN humanitarian coordinator for Somalia, told AFP, estimating that 300,000 children under the age of five were exposed to severe malnutrition in the coming months. “They will die if we don’t help them quickly,” he added, as the UN called for contributions of $ 1.5 billion to fund the response to the crisis.

7 out of 10 Somalis live below the poverty line

Approximately 7.7 million people, or nearly half of Somalia’s population (15.9 million), will need humanitarian assistance and protection in 2022, an increase of 30% in one year, according to the UN. At least seven out of ten Somalis live below the poverty line, and the drought has destroyed already precarious sources of income (loss of livestock, reduced harvests), all combined with high inflation.

“The risk is so great that without immediate humanitarian aid, children, women and men will begin to starve to death in Somalia,” said Somali Minister for Humanitarian Affairs and Crisis Management Khadija Diriye. The Somali government declared the drought a humanitarian emergency in November.

Drought and floods also recently affected Kenya and South Sudan, killing herds, destroying grasslands and devastating crops. The shortage of water and food raises fears of a risk of conflict between communities over resources. Experts believe that the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events is increasing, attributing it to climate change.

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