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Friday, June 02 2023

2.3 mn Somalis severely affected by serious water, food, pasture shortages: UN

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New York: Some 2.3 million people in Somalia, or 18 per cent of the population, are severely affected by serious water, food and pasture shortages, a UN spokesperson has warned.

“From Somalia, the federal government and the humanitarian community on Friday jointly said that they are alarmed at the rapidly worsening drought in the country,” Stephane Dujarric, spokesperson for UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, told reporters at the daily press briefing.

“The risk of waterborne disease is on the rise due to the lack of access to safe and potable water,” he said.

“Somalia is on the frontline of climate change and has experienced more than 30 climate-related hazards since 1990, including 12 droughts and 19 floods,” said the spokesperson.

Nearly 1,00,000 people have abandoned their homes, especially in central and southern areas, in search of food, water and pasture for their livestock. Over 70 per cent of all Somalis live below the poverty line, Xinhua news agency reported.

Across the country, the number of people who need assistance and protection is forecast to rise by 30 per cent, from 5.9 million to about 7.7 million in 2022.

UN Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General in the country, Adam Abdelmoula, said that “a severe storm is brewing in Somalia.”

“Those affected have already endured decades of conflict, climatic shocks and disease outbreaks,” Abdelmoula added, who also acts as resident and humanitarian coordinator.

Local communities, the authorities and the United Nations are ramping up response to address these needs. But critical response sectors like water, sanitation and hygiene are only 20 per cent funded.

With one month remaining in the year, the 2021 Somalia Humanitarian Response Plan is only 66 per cent funded.

In response, the UN Central Emergency Response Fund is allocating $8 million and the Somalia Humanitarian Fund is making a reserve allocation of $6 million.

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