Aid agencies on Monday launched an appeal for $710 million to provide critical, life-saving assistance to 4.5 million Somalis in danger of starvation in the most severely drought-hit areas between now and the end of December.
The April-June harvests have dismally failed, resulting in a second consecutive below-average rainy season while Somalia is still recovering from the impact of the prolonged 2016-17 drought.
Except the 2018 April-June, every rainy season since late 2015 has been below average, leading to increased vulnerability and decreased coping ability.
This is the third driest on record since the early 1980s and has resulted in widespread crop failure and accelerated decline in livestock productivity.
Consequently, the number of people in crisis and emergency levels of food insecurity or worse is expected to reach 2.2 million by July, if aid is not scaled up.
This is more than 40 per cent higher than January this year. malnutrition, drought-related diseases and displacement are on the rise.
“The drought situation in Somalia has deteriorated rapidly and intensified much earlier than seen over the last decade. Somalia is at a critical juncture, and with sufficient resources, we can reactivate the structures that successfully avoided famine in 2017,” said George Conway, the acting Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia.
“As we continue to work under the leadership of Somali authorities to rebuild resilience and address the underlying causes of such recurrent crises, it is now critical that everyone, including donors, the private sector, Somalis in-country and in the diaspora, rallies behind these collective response and prevention efforts,” he added in a statement issued in Nairobi.
The aid agencies have warned that the impact of the drought threatens to reverse gains made in 2018, pointing out that immediate scale-up in humanitarian response is required to mitigate the effects of the latest drought that threatens to drive Somalia into a major humanitarian crisis.