Half of drought-hit Somalia needs aid in 2018: U.N.
NAIROBI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – About 6.2 million people in Somalia – half the population – need emergency aid, such as food, water and shelter, due to unprecedented drought and ongoing conflict, the United Nations said on Wednesday, appealing for $1.6 billion.
The drought – spanning four consecutive poor rainy seasons – has forced millions from their homes and left hundreds of thousands of children malnourished.
One in four people in the Horn of Africa nation faces the risk of hunger.
The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said donors raised enough funds in 2017 to avert famine and stave off an outbreak of cholera, but the situation was set to worsen this year without sufficient aid.
Somalia’s 2011 famine killed 260,000 people, half of whom died before the official declaration of famine, caused by drought, war and lack of access for humanitarian aid.
Its weak, Western-backed government is struggling to assert control over poor, rural areas under the Islamist militant group al Shabaab – challenging the delivery of aid to the most needy.
Somali Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khayre thanked the international community for the $1.3 billion raised last year, but warned there was no room for complacency.
“We face similar challenges and risks this year and the years to follow,” said Hassan.
“Drought and conflict will continue to affect the lives of millions of Somalis.