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‘Extremely worrying’ severe drought grips most of Somalia as seasonal rains fail for third time



‘Extremely worrying’ severe drought grips most of Somalia as seasonal rains fail for third time

The impact of worsening drought on vulnerable rural populations is of great concern

ROME, Italy, November 19, 2021 / APO Group / –

Somalia is experiencing its third consecutive bad rainy season since late 2020, according to the latest drought bulletin released yesterday by the Somalia Water and Land Information Management Unit (FAO SWALIM) in Mogadishu. The southern regions of Somalia are currently experiencing severe drought while the northeastern regions of the country are facing moderate generalized drought. If drought conditions were to worsen as expected in December 2021 and the first quarter of 2022, it could lead to a situation similar to that seen in 2016/2017, FAO SWALIM said.

The impacts of climate change and variability in Somalia are the main causes of the current climatic hazards that the country has faced over the past decade. “Climate change continues to induce recurring droughts and erratic weather patterns leading to widespread displacement, hunger, malnutrition and increased poverty. The negative rainfall anomalies, coupled with the outlook for low rainfall in the country in November, indicate that it will not be sufficient to alleviate the drought conditions we are witnessing, ”said Ugo Leonardi, technical advisor to SWALIM.

Fleeing from hunger as drought grips southern and central Somalia

The severe drought conditions come at a time when an estimated 3.5 million Somalis already face acute food insecurity, and the number of severely malnourished children is also on the rise. Drought conditions triggered by the lack of rain have already destroyed crops and killed livestock. Farmers and herders are being forced to travel increasingly long distances in search of pasture and water, and the drought has had a devastating impact on their lives and livelihoods. Some pastoralist communities in Juba and Galmadug regions have already been displaced and are moving to towns and IDP camps after losing most of their livestock.

In addition, the persistence of drought conditions contributed to the rapid decline in household purchasing power. A worsening situation as international prices hit a ten-year high in October with imported rice prices in northern and central Somalia up 50 percent and maize and sorghum prices up 30 to 60 percent in southern markets due to low supply.

With current weather forecasts and persistent conflicts in parts of the country, food insecurity is expected to worsen significantly through May 2022, with many families facing increased hunger and an erosion of their ability to survive. faced with these multiple crises.

Doubling drought response efforts

Without urgent and intensified support to communities in these affected regions, the situation is likely to deteriorate further in the first half of 2022. Growing humanitarian needs come at the end of an already difficult year. Government, humanitarian and resource partners must mobilize to meet this latter challenge.

“The impact of the worsening drought on vulnerable rural populations is of great concern. Without swift action by all actors, rural communities will be faced with difficult choices in the coming months as they will no longer be able to feed their families, ”said FAO Representative Etienne Peterschmitt. “In 2017 we were able to avert a devastating crisis in Somalia through rapid, large-scale action thanks to the substantial and timely commitments of resource partners. We must not forget these lessons now. It is time again for the humanitarian community to step up its response efforts to protect lives and livelihoods in Somalia, ”he said.

FAO urgently needs $ 2.35 million to protect pastoralist assets through livestock treatment for 15 million animals and $ 1.8 million to meet the food needs of 12,500 rural households in southern Somalia.

FAO’s emergency response in Somalia is saving lives and livelihoods by providing cash transfers to vulnerable rural households to meet immediate food needs, while providing additional food for livestock, water and treatments for pastoral communities. In addition, the emergency response is providing drought tolerant seed varieties and additional irrigation to protect the livelihoods of rural farming households.

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