Somalia drought: 1.4 million people may be forced from their homes, preventative action needed now
NRC’s humanitarian staff across the country are reporting increasing numbers of deceased livestock, malnourished children, drought-related deaths, and people searching for aid. Women, children and the elderly are hardest hit.
“I fled with my children and arrived here, we had no other option,” said Ebla Abdi, a mother of five who travelled 200 kilometres to a displacement camp in Kismayo, southern Somalia. “We had 30 cows, but many of them died because of the drought.”
“All my cattle succumbed to the drought. I lost 75 cows in a single night,” said Markaba Bulle, a 90-year-old grandmother displaced by drought, arriving to the same camp. “We walked for eight days to reach here.”
Preventative action, including supply of drinking water, food, basic income, and support for livelihoods, is crucial to avoid further displacement. Similar support, as well as shelter, is required for those already forced to leave their homes. NRC aims to provide this support to half a million of those hardest hit.
“To avert the humanitarian disaster unfolding before our eyes, we are asking donor countries to provide the funding necessary to ensure lifesaving assistance for the millions of people affected by one of the worst droughts in the last decade,” said Abdi.
According to data from the Protection and Monitoring Returns Network (PRMN), 147,000 people have been displaced due to drought in the previous three months alone.
At present, 3,200,000 people in Somalia – one-fifth of the population – are impacted by drought. Recent projections by IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) estimate that up to 1,415,000 people may be displaced in the coming six months.
The drought is posing severe consequences for communities, including food and water insecurity, malnutrition, rising commodity prices, crop and livestock losses, and risks to safety, including gender-based violence and conflicts over natural resources.