UN ramps up response to help drought-hit Somalis

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Somali families displaced by severe drought create a makeshift camp as the Horn of Africa faces severe drought on the outskirts of the village of War Idad, 150 miles east of the capital Hargeisa, Somalia, on June 19, 2017. (Photo by Scott Peterson/Getty Images)
Somali families displaced by severe drought create a makeshift camp as the Horn of Africa faces severe drought on the outskirts of the village of War Idad, 150 miles east of Hargeisa, Somalia, on June 19, 2017.  (Photo by Scott Peterson/Getty Images)

The United Nations humanitarian agency said Monday it has stepped up response to support drought-stricken communities in Somalia especially in the southern region to avert a further deterioration of the situation.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said prolonged drought conditions have impacted many parts of Somalia since June with Jubaland State being the worst affected.

“Those affected have no access to safe drinking water, improved sanitation facilities and good hygiene practices,” UNOCHA said in its humanitarian report released in Mogadishu.

It said more than 125,000 people have been affected by water shortages and require urgent water assistance in Jubaland, warning that the situation may worsen if no rain falls in the coming weeks.

The UN agency said thousands more have been displaced in Galmudug in Somaliland, raising concerns about the plight of those affected.

Forecasts by the Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit for Somalia (FSNAU), a project managed by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), indicate an increased likelihood of below-average rainfall from October to December, which will adversely affect food security and nutrition outcomes.

In the absence of humanitarian assistance, the FSNAU estimates that nearly 3.5 million people across Somalia will face food consumption gaps or depletion of livelihood assets indicative of Crisis or worse outcomes through the end of 2021.

According to the forecast, approximately 1.2 million children under the age of five are likely to be malnourished, including nearly 213,400 who are likely to be severely malnourished.

UNOCHA said durable solutions interventions have the potential to be replicated and upscaled across Somalia, providing medium-term low-cost solutions to displacement and avoiding increased vulnerability and humanitarian costs that usually follow multiple evictions and protracted displacement.

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