MOGADISHU, Somalia (AA) – The United Nations humanitarian partners in Somalia and its government have sought $2.6 billion to assist millions of people in the drought-hit Horn of Africa country.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) has estimated that 8.25 million people — nearly half of Somalia’s population — need “immediate” lifesaving humanitarian and protection assistance.
“Famine is a strong possibility from April to June and beyond if humanitarian assistance is not sustained and if the next rains underperform, as current forecasts indicate,” the UN said.
The drought has displaced more than 1.4 million people.
The UN said the prolonged drought in Somalia has killed at least 3.5 million livestock, destroying livelihoods and reducing children’s access to milk.
“Even though technical famine thresholds have not been reached, the situation is extremely alarming: prolonged and extreme conditions have resulted in higher-than-normal deaths and excess mortality will continue to accumulate unless assistance is further scaled up and sustained in crucial sectors,” the UN said.
Amid an anticipated reduction in funding for humanitarian assistance in Somalia, the UN said 8.3 million people will likely experience high levels of acute food insecurity from April to June.
The figures include more than 727,000 who are likely to face “catastrophic conditions.”
About 8 million people lack access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene services, the UN said.
“The people of Somalia are paying the price for climate emergency they did very little to create,” said Salah Jama, Somalia’s deputy prime minister.