The extreme drought affecting Somalia is the result of three consecutive below-average rainy seasons and has, in turn, caused severe water shortages and inflated food prices. According to the Somali NGO Consortium, 7.7 million people across the country have seen their humanitarian needs increase substantially, including for the estimated 3.2 million people whom were already suffering from an extreme drought.
The situation is expected to worsen in the coming months, as the chances for a fourth failed rainy season are high - which would cause catastrophic damage to livestock, crops, water sources and by extension livelihoods.
As a consequence, thousands of families have been pushed into displacement in search of food, water and pasture – a figure that is expected to reach 1.4 million people in the coming months. In addition to the heightened protection risks and vulnerabilities that come with displacement, the accrued pressure on the resources of host communities has the potential to trigger conflict and further displacement.
“I Need Help”
Amina Abdulle, a 37-year-old mother of five children in Beledweyne, is part of the hundreds of families that were displaced from Matabaan in Hiraan region in 2011 due to drought and are at chance of secondary displacement should the situation not improve.
“The drought has already killed some of my livestock as you can see, our survival as a community is threatened since we depend on our livestock to live. I lost everything in the previous drought and I cannot bear the thoughts of another drought; our children, animals and our own lives are in danger, we need help,” said Amina.
DRC teams across the country have witnessed the migration of pastoralists in search of better pasture and water. They have also reported increased number of livestock deaths, malnourished children, mothers and the elderly. Many families have sold their remaining livestock in order to survive and cope with the current situation.
Response needs upscaling
The urgent and widespread needs require the international community to respond immediately and at scale to avoid famine-like conditions and boost resilience.
DRC is responding to the drought and its consequences on displacement, meeting the urgent daily survival needs of families. The response, however, needs to be scaled up.
“The drought conditions in the country are deteriorating by the day, the needs on the ground are massive and urgent, and they are quickly outpacing the available funds to respond. There is need to act now in a coordinated manner in order to prevent the risk of famine in the country,” says Audrey Crawford, DRC Somalia Country Director.