The number of drought-related displacements has surpassed one million to hit 1,002,796 people in Somalia since January 2021, the United Nations (UN) humanitarian agency said.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said some 83,518 people were displaced in July by drought, a 26 per cent decrease compared to the previous month.
The UN agency had on June 24 appealed for $993.3 million to provide live-saving and life-sustaining assistance to prevent famine and respond to the drought in Somalia by December.
The OCHA said the impact of the drought and increasing economic pressures are deepening the severity of needs and driving the country to the brink of famine.
Meanwhile, the United States, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), had last month provided an additional $476 million in critical humanitarian and development assistance to the people of Somalia as a historically unprecedented drought pushes more than 7 million people to the edge of starvation.
United States has provided nearly $707 million in humanitarian assistance for the people of Somalia in FY 2022. It is imperative that Somalia’s partners in the international community join the United States in increasing their contributions to the Somali people to avert significant loss of life in the midst of multiple consecutive failed rainy seasons and skyrocketing food and fuel prices due to Russia’s war on Ukraine.
USAID’s critical assistance comes as Somalia is experiencing four back-to-back drought seasons, and more than 200,000 people currently face an imminent risk of famine. A confluence of crises, including COVID-19, desert locust infestations, and continued recovery from previous droughts have grinded away at people’s livelihoods across the country. Meanwhile, climate change has increased the frequency and intensity of droughts globally.
The announcement includes $461 million in humanitarian assistance that will allow USAID partners to urgently scale-up assistance to millions of people across Somalia. This includes: urgent supplies of food for millions of people, staving off starvation, Life-saving nutrition to treat malnourished children, Safe drinking water and emergency health care to prevent disease exacerbated by hunger, and Protection for women and children to prevent gender-based violence.