Call For Aid As Somalia Faces Severe Drought

70 Percent Fall In Forecasted Rainfall Adds To Existing Woes

22 Apr 2021 by The Water Diplomat

Displaced persons camp in Dinsoor Somalia 2017

The Somali NGO Consortium (SNC) has issued an urgent call for aid as the country faces the risk of severe drought, with rainfall over the next three months forecast to be 70 Percent lower than normal in some areas.

“The time to prepare is now," said says Halimo Elmi Weheliye, Acting Director of the Somali NGO Consortium, continuing: "We know this from past drought responses and we are calling on all actors to be ready for an urgent scale up of humanitarian response to prevent unnecessary harm.”

Somalis are already struggling with crop failure due to a "disastrous" rainy season in October-December last year, further aggravated by a locust infestation and the continuing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The worsening of the current drought conditions risks aggravating the situation for millions of Somalis trying to recover from the compounded effects [of] flooding, COVID-19, conflict, and locust invasions, all happening in 2020," explained Weheliye.

Quoting information from the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS), the SNC anticipates one in five Somalis (2.7 million people) will need humanitarian assistance without a scale up of emergency response. This represents a 69 percent increase from 1.6 million at the same date last year. The threat is particularly severe in the northern and central regions of this highly rain-dependent country.

More than 83,000 people have been displaced by water shortages since November 2020, and the SNC is warning that further displacement is likely as well as an increase in water-borne diseases.

"Worsening water shortages and pasture coupled with widespread COVID-19 crises and total collapse of Somali shilling due to inflation has led to severe humanitarian situation here in Puntland, causing livestock to die and pushing communities into suffering and malnutrition. If the rains don’t come, I don’t know how people and livestock will survive,” says Mohamoud Farah, Water and Sanitation Officer of aid and development NGO KAALO.

The SNC is calling on donors to provide additional funds and on humanitarian actors to "reprogram their current emergency responses to the worsening drought situation".

According to UNICEF, more than 50 Percent of people in Somalia do not have access to safe water, while over 30 percent walk more than 15 minutes to reach their main source of drinking water.

Photo credit: Giles Clarke/Getty Images

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