The UN and the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) warned Thursday that drought in Somalia has reached unprecedented levels and displaced a million people.
More than 755,000 people have been internally displaced in Somalia this year, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and the NRC due to severe drought in the Horn of Africa.
The total number of people displaced since January 2021, when this terrible drought began, is 1 million.
“This milestone of one million people is a huge wake-up call,” NRC Somalia director Mohamed Abdi was quoted as saying in a statement.
“Famine is now gripping the entire country. We see more and more families forced to give up everything because there is no water or food in their villages. There is an urgent need to increase aid funding before it is too late,” he added.
Somalia has been experiencing an unprecedented drought for two years – a level not seen in more than 40 years, both organizations said.
The number of extremely food insecure people is expected to rise from 5 million to more than 7 million in the coming months, a situation exacerbated by the effects of climate change and rising food prices due to conflict.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) said last week that eight regions of Somalia could face famine by September if crop failures and low livestock production continue, and if prices of key commodities continue to rise and become widespread. Humanitarian aid is not reaching the most vulnerable.
“Prior to this latest crisis the situation in Somalia was already one of the most underfunded. Although we and our humanitarian partners are doing our best to address the situation, our resources are not enough,” noted UNHCR Representative in Somalia, Magad Guise.
In June, UNHCR announced a $42.6 million need to help 1.5 million internally displaced people, refugees and members of host communities affected by drought in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia.
Of this amount, 9.5 million is earmarked for projects in Somalia.