Somalia: European Union Aids Families Severely Hit By Drought

The European has extended a €125 000 in humanitarian funding to assist the most affected people suffering from food shortages requiring humanitarian assistance.

The drought resulted from insufficient seasonal rainfall at the end of last year and ongoing dry weather conditions and high temperatures in Somalia.

This EU funding is supporting the Somali Red Crescent Society in delivering help to vulnerable people who face acute food shortages and who urgently need food assistance.

They include farmers and pastoralists who are yet to recover from the loss of crops and livestock during the 2016/2017 drought, families still recovering from the damage and flooding caused by Cyclone Sagar in 2018, and internally displaced people who lost any means of livelihood upon leaving their homes.

Other vulnerable groups include female-headed households, children (especially those under five, suffering from acute malnutrition, the most serious form of undernourishment), the elderly, people with disabilities and marginalised communities.

The humanitarian aid directly benefits 5 100 people, representing 850 households in the Awdal and Woqooyi Galbeed regions in Somaliland, in northwestern Somalia, in a project that will run over three months. In these two regions, over 45 000 people are in need of emergency food assistance.

Priority is given to villages that have not received any assistance so far by other humanitarian organisations in the region and to the most vulnerable families. The Somali Red Crescent Society is supporting the affected families through emergency cash transfers of USD 80 per household per month. The cash transfers are helping families to buy food and other basic needs.

The funding is part of the EU's overall contribution to the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).

The rainfall season between October and December last year started late and was significantly insufficient across the country, with large parts of central Somalia and some parts of northern Somalia receiving only 25 to 50 per cent of the average rainfall. Water scarcity is a major concern in the northern and central zones dependent on pastoralism for their livelihood.

Grazing fields have been depleted, leaving the surviving animals weak and unsaleable, while farmers have no harvests.

This comes on top of an already fragile humanitarian situation created by large-scale displacement of people fleeing conflict and hunger, and the destitution that displacement brings with it.

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