UN: Severe drought affects most of Somalia

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MOGADISHU (HORN NOTE) – Somalia is enduring its third bad rainy season in a row since the end of 2020, according to the latest drought bulletin issued by the FAO’s Somalia Water and Land Information Management (FAO SWALIM) unit in Mogadishu yesterday.

The southern regions of Somalia are now enduring severe drought while the northeastern regions of the country are facing widespread moderate drought. If the drought worsens as expected in December 2021 and into the first quarter of 2022, it could lead to a similar situation seen in 2016/2017, said FAO SWALIM.

The effects of climate change and variations in Somalia are important reasons for the current climate risks that the country has faced over the past decade. “Climate change continues to cause recurring droughts and irregular weather patterns that result in widespread displacement, hunger, malnutrition and rising poverty. drought conditions we are witnessing, ”says Ugo Leonardi, technical advisor to SWALIM.

On the run from hunger

The severe drought conditions come at a time when an estimated 3.5 million Somalis are already facing acute food insecurity, and the number of severely malnourished children is also increasing. The drought triggered by unsuccessful rains has already destroyed crops and killed livestock. Farmers and shepherds are being forced to travel longer distances in search of pasture and water, and the drought has had a devastating effect on their lives and livelihoods. Some pastoral communities in the Juba and Galmadug regions have already been displaced and are moving to cities and internally displaced persons after losing most of their livestock.

In addition, the persistent drought has contributed to a rapid decline in household purchasing power. A situation that worsens when international prices reached a ten-year high in October with prices of imported rice in northern and central Somalia up by 50 percent and prices of corn and sorghum by 30-60 percent in the southern markets due to low supply.

With current weather forecasts and persistent conflicts present in parts of the country, food security is expected to deteriorate significantly until May 2022, with many families expected to experience increased hunger and erosion of their ability to cope with these many crises.

Doubling efforts to combat drought

Without urgent and scaled-up support for the communities in these affected regions, the situation is likely to deteriorate further in the first half of 2022. The growing humanitarian needs come at the end of an already challenging year. The government, humanitarian and resource partners must take the step to meet this latest challenge.

“The consequences of the worsening drought on vulnerable rural populations are extremely worrying. Without swift action by all actors, rural communities will face difficult choices in the coming months as they become unable to support their families,” said FAO Representative Etienne Peterschmitt. “In 2017, we were able to avert a devastating crisis in Somalia as a result of early action on a large scale thanks to significant and rapid commitments from resource partners. We must not forget these lessons now. It is time again for the humanitarian community to redouble its efforts to secure life and livelihoods in Somalia, he said.

The FAO urgently calls for $ 2.35 million to protect pastoral resources through 1.5 million livestock treatment and to provide cash to meet the food needs of 12,500 poor and vulnerable pastoral households in southern Somalia, Puntland and Somaliland.

FAO’s emergency preparedness in Somalia saves lives and livelihoods by providing cash transfers to vulnerable rural households to meet immediate food needs, while providing critically essential complementary animal feed, water and treatment to pastoral communities. In addition, emergency preparedness provides drought-tolerant seed varieties and supplementary irrigation to protect the supply of agricultural households in rural areas.

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