Thursday November 16, 2023
The UN World Food Program (WFP) on Tuesday warned that climate extremes will drive the hunger crisis in Somalia to record highs.Laura Turner, WFP Somalia Deputy Country director, said the most vulnerable people in Somalia have been hit once again by climate change.
The WFP said the deadly floods, the worst in decades, have driven more than half 1 million people from their homes and crippled families' attempts to rebuild their drought-ravaged livelihoods.
"With these floods following right after the drought, it feels like a relentless bombardment of climate shocks for struggling families," Turner said in a statement issued in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia.
The WFP said the floods are devastating deeply food-insecure communities who are still battling to recover from the country's longest recorded drought.
According to the UN food agency, the end of more than two years of drought that pushed the country to the brink of famine has brought little relief for families.
Turner said humanitarian aid brought people back from the brink of starvation in 2022, but Somalia is still facing the highest levels of hunger it has suffered in over a decade.
"We need to provide communities with the tools and knowledge to weather these extremes to break the crisis-driven cycle of hunger that has afflicted Somalia for too long," she added.
The WFP said it activated a flood anticipatory action program, its first in Africa, in coordination with the Somali government in October after weather forecasts predicted heavy rain and floods exacerbated by the El Nino weather pattern. It delivered pre-emptive cash transfers and warning messages in districts projected to suffer heavy flooding, reaching more than 200,000 people so far.
The floods hit along the Juba River in early November, in areas such as Luuq and Bardhere, where a key bridge was swept away.
Areas along the Shabelle River, including Beledweyne, were inundated over the weekend leaving communities battling to save their homes, livestock, and crops, it said.
The WFP said the anticipatory action programs in these areas meant that families had the information and means to protect their homes or move before the floods hit, leaving fewer people now in need of emergency assistance.
About 4.3 million people are forecast to face crisis-level hunger or worse (IPC3+) by the end of the year and the WFP said the support of the humanitarian community remains a lifeline.
The floods have exacerbated Somalia's hunger crisis, at a time when significant funding shortfalls mean that the WFP is only able to provide food assistance to less than half of the people most in need.
The WFP warned its funding gap in Somalia is 378 million U.S. dollars from November 2023 to April 2024.