Drought-hit Somalia faces record displacements

Simultaneous flooding, drought a reality in Somalia, says Norwegian Refugee Council

Drought-hit Somalia faces record displacements


Climate shocks and drought in Somalia may displace thousands of people this year, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) warned in a report Wednesday.

“Once again Somalia is facing the prospect of serious drought. Water and pasture resources are depleting every day and resulting in people abandoning their homes with their livestock to search for better conditions,” Mohamed Abdi, NRC’s country director in Somalia, was quoted as saying in the report.

“Our staff on the ground are reporting that more than 50 districts are currently experiencing moderate to severe drought levels and it is expected to get worse,” Abdi said.

Citing a report issued by the Protection and Monitoring Returns Network (PRMN), the NRC explained that more than one million people were displaced due to floods, conflict and drought in Somalia in 2020, the highest figures recorded since 2016. So far, 112,000 have been displaced in the first three months of 2021, of whom 34% were uprooted because of drought,” the NRC said, adding that 2017 has witnessed more than a million people displaced due to drought in the Horn of Africa country of over 16 million people.

Drought in some Somali areas comes parallel with flooding in other regions of the country.

“It sounds contradictory, but simultaneous flooding and drought are a reality in Somalia,” Abdi said.

“Flooding was the main driver of high displacement last year. Some rains have dropped in the past number of days so our teams on the ground are also working towards flooding preparedness and to support those in critical need. We have to prepare for all climate shocks,” he explained.

The UN’s 2021 aid appeal for Somalia seeks $1.09 billion to rescue four million people in dire need due to “insecurity, recurring climate disasters and the indirect economic impact of COVID-19,” the report read.

However, Abdi explained that only around 13% of Somalia’s aid appeal has been donated so far.

“The international community must not turn their back on Somalis, particularly pastoralist communities, who are impacted the most. We must do all we can to prevent another cycle of suffering in Somalia,” Abdi added.

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