21 May 2019

Somalia: UN Calls for Urgent Resources to Avert Drought Crisis

Photo: DW
A pastoralist’s pain "It’s stressful, I’m still trying to accept it," says 40-year-old Mohammed Noor. Like many Somali-Ethiopian pastoralists from Ethiopia’s Somali region, he travelled hundreds of kilometers to Somaliland’s coast following rumors of rain and fresh pastures there. But there wasn’t enough for the numbers that descended. Only 30 of Mohammed’s original 100 goats are left. One camel died, two survived.

The United Nations on Monday in a statement called for urgent and sustained resources to avert a major humanitarian crisis caused by severe drought.

George Conway, the acting deputy special representative for the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), said "the drought situation in Somalia has deteriorated rapidly and intensified much earlier than seen over the last decade. Somalia is at a critical juncture, and with sufficient resources, we can reactivate the structures that successfully avoided famine in 2017."

The UN statement said the 2019 Gu rains (April-June) have dismally failed, resulting in a second consecutive below-average rainy season while Somalia is still recovering from the impact of the prolonged 2016-17 drought.

Out of 5.4 million expected to be acutely food insecure by July, 2.2 million will be in severe acute food insecurity conditions, a 40 percent increase from January, the statement said.

It said except the 2018 Gu (April-June), every rainy season since late 2015 has been below average, leading to increased vulnerability and decreased coping ability.

"As we continue to work under the leadership of Somali authorities to rebuild resilience and address the underlying causes of such recurrent crises, it is now critical that everyone, including donors, the private sector, Somalis in-country and in the diaspora, rallies behind these collective response and prevention efforts," Conway, who is also United Nations resident and humanitarian coordinator for Somalia said.

The UN said 710 million U.S. dollars are needed to provide critical, life-saving assistance to 4.5 million drought-affected Somalis in the most severely affected areas between now and end-December.


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