8 June 2018

Somalia: From Drought to Floods in Somalia - Displacement and Hunger Worsen, Says UN

Photo: Ilyas Ahmed/UN Photo
The town of Belet Weyne in the Hiraan region of Somalia as seen from the air submerged in flood waters from the Shabelle river on 30 April 2018. Belet Weyne is currently experiencing its worst flooding ever and over 150,000 people have been displaced.

After four consecutive poor rainy seasons that brought Somalia to the brink of famine, the country is now seeing near-record rainfall, and with it, flooding that has already displaced hundreds of thousands of people, the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) said on Friday.

According to the agency, about 230,000 people, over half of whom are estimated to be children, have been displaced since April due to flooding. They join around 2.6 million people across the country who have already been affected by drought and conflict.

"The rains signal the end of the drought for some areas of the country but they also sharpen the risks faced by acutely malnourished children, and particularly those who have been displaced," Christophe Boulierac, UNICEF spokesperson, told reporters in Geneva.

The rains spread diseases that are particularly deadly for malnourished children whose immune systems are fragile and exhausted.

While there has not yet been a notable spike, the risk of further outbreaks is high and compounded by flooding, Mr. Boulierac said.

The flooding has also damaged water sources, sanitation facilities and other critical infrastructure, and 22 nutrition centres treating over 6,000 acutely malnourished children in areas hosting the displaced, have had to shut down.

Many of the flood-impacted areas are in the path of an ongoing measles outbreak, and a spike in acute watery diarrhoea, or cholera, is a major threat, he said.

Children displaced from their homes are most likely to be malnourished.

About half of children under 5 - more than 1.25 million - are expected to be acutely malnourished this year, including up to 232,000 children who could suffer the harshest form of malnutrition that requires specialized lifesaving care.

UNICEF is still $110.3 million short of the $154.9 million in funding needed to support relief programmes in Somalia.

Somalia

Leaders Take State to Task After Mandera Al-Shabaab Attack

Less than a week after two teachers were killed in an Al-Shabaab raid at Arabia Boys Secondary School, the local… Read more »

See What Everyone is Watching

Copyright © 2018 UN News Service. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 600 reports a day from more than 140 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.