Somalia braces for record levels of displacement this year as drought ravages parts of the country, leaving tens of thousands of people without water and livelihoods.
“Once again, Somalia faces the prospect of severe drought. Water and pasture resources are being depleted every day and people are abandoning their homes with their livestock in search of better conditions. We are concerned that the drought associated with the conflict will see record levels of displacement this year, ”said Mohamed Abdi, national director of the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) in Somalia.
More than one million people were displaced by floods, conflict and drought in Somalia last year, the highest figures since 2016, according to data from the Return Protection and Monitoring Network (PRMN). To date, 112,000 people have been displaced in the first three months. of 2021, of which 34% were uprooted due to the drought.
The last time more than a million people were displaced in Somalia was in 2017, when drought ravaged the country and caused widespread suffering and uncertainty.
“Drought will most likely be the determining factor in the displacement of large numbers of Somalis this year due to the poor performance of the seasonal rains. Our field staff report that more than 50 districts are currently experiencing moderate to severe drought levels and the situation is expected to worsen, ”Abdi said.
In Somalia, the impact of drought parallels that of flooding in other parts of the country.
“It sounds contradictory, but simultaneous flooding and drought are a reality in Somalia. Flooding was the main driver of high displacement last year. Some rains have dropped in the past few days, so our teams on the ground are also working on flood preparedness and supporting those in critical need. We must prepare for all climatic shocks, ”explained Mohamed Abdi.
“About 13 percent of Somalia’s appeal for aid has been given so far, nowhere near enough to support people as they fight drought and multiple other crises. The international community must not turn its back on Somalis, especially pastoral communities, who are most affected. We must do all we can to prevent a new round of suffering in Somalia, ”Abdi said.
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