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Somalia Drought: Mega Disaster Threatens 2.4m People

Posted by feww on February 18, 2011

Severe, country-wide drought in Somalia threatens a third of the population: UN Official

UN relief chief warns of humanitarian disaster as drought ravages Somalia and Kenya

Severe drought in Somalia is worsening the humanitarian crisis in the country (Population: 7.2 million) causing more people to become internally displaced. As food and water scarcity worsen, many are moving into refugee camps across the border in Kenya, according to the UN under secretary general for humanitarian affairs, Valerie Amos.


Somali rural society is largely based upon pastoralism – drought has bitten deep into Somali rural society in recent years. Source: SAACID-ORG

“Somalia… is on the brink of a much larger disaster due to the threat of a country-wide drought,” said Amos.

“Malnutrition has increased in the last six months in Southern Somalia and 2.4 million, 32 percent of the population, remain in crisis.”

Current estimated food security conditions, rural areas, January 2010


Image Source:FSAU and FEWS NET via SAACID

“As we speak, there are significant urban population movements from [Somalia’s] Hiran and Middle Shabelle regions to Kenya,” Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos, who visited Somalia and Kenya earlier this month, told reporters at UN Headquarters.

“People are moving due to the deteriorating living conditions and a lack of a way to make a living. Families are said to be selling their assets, including houses and land, to get by and to facilitate their movement to the refugee camps in Kenya,” she said.

“Families are set to start selling their assets, including their houses and land to get by… our actions in the next few months is critical.”

“I cannot stress enough the importance in Somalia of finding a political solution. Only that would enable people to live in peace and dignity.” She said.

Somalia plunged into factional warfare in 1991 when the regime of Muhammad Siad Barre was toppled.

About 431,000 refugees have moved to Kenya, most of whom are from Somalia. About 300,000 of the refugees live in the Dadaab camps, close to Kenya’s border with Somalia.

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