Wednesday April 27, 2022
About 500,000 people have been displaced due to severe
drought ravaging several parts of Somalia in the first three months to March,
the United Nations refugee agency said Tuesday.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)-led Protection
and Return Monitoring Network (PRMN) said the above figure is in addition to
the 874,000 people already reported as displaced in Somalia in 2021, among whom
245,000 were primarily associated with drought.
"Alarming projections suggest that up to 1.4 million
people could be displaced within the next six months," UNHCR said in its
latest drought response update released in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia.
The UN agency has warned that Somalia's drought emergency
has deteriorated to a point where the country is facing the risk of famine.
It said communities across the country are experiencing one
of the most severe droughts in decades, leading to the declaration of a
national emergency by Somalia in November 2021.
"By the end of the first quarter of 2022, the drought
situation has rapidly deteriorated, raising a credible risk of famine in
pockets across the country and also causing large-scale displacements,"
The UN refugee agency said it has been providing shelter,
core relief items and cash to 140,000 drought-affected persons across Somalia.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
(OCHA) says even before the current drought, about 7.7 million Somalis were in
need of humanitarian assistance and protection this year -- up 30 percent from
a year ago.
According to OCHA, the humanitarian situation in Somalia is
already grave due to decades of conflict, recurrent climate shocks and disease
outbreaks, including the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The UN, government and humanitarian partners say they are
ramping up responses in order to meet critical needs and avoid disastrous