A non-governmental organization has warned of an impending catastrophe as last year the number of civilians fleeing conflict in Somalia shot up to 320,000, the highest in four years.
The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) report released on Wednesday said this number is up from 202,000 people displaced in 2017.
Evelyn Aero, the group’s regional adviser, said in a statement: “We’re alarmed at the sharp increase in the number of civilians forced to flee their homes in Somalia. The conflict is getting worse for civilians, making thousands more homeless. If this worrying trend continues, it could lead to catastrophe.”
Most of the people fleeing from conflict are from the Lower Shabelle region of Somalia.
He warned that the displaced are living in crowded camps where healthcare is poor, countries such as Kenya that provide refuge for Somalis are no longer registering new refugees.
“These families take refuge in crowded camps for displaced people in Somalia, living in flimsy shelters. They’re vulnerable to malaria, evictions, insecurity and gender-based violence. Young children are especially vulnerable to malnutrition and disease. They urgently need more aid to survive,” he said.
Many are also displaced due to drought, evictions, and flooding, among other causes. The United Nations humanitarian appeal for Somalia seeks in 2019 $1.08 billion, so far only $67 million has been funded.