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Worsening drought in Somalia threatens to displace over 1 million people

A Man searching for water as the country experiences its worst drought in decades

Worsening drought in Somalia threatens to displace over 1 million people

Deteriorating drought conditions in Somalia could displace over 1 million people by April if urgent action is not taken, according to the International Organization for Migration’s (IOM) latest Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) analysis.

Somalia has been hit the hardest by the widespread drought in the Horn of Africa, prompting the government to proclaim a state of emergency in November. In some sections of the country, water scarcity is at an all-time high, with boreholes and shallow wells going dry. Livestock is dwindling, and the cost of basic foodstuffs has become unaffordable for the majority of people. More than 3.2 million people are affected, including about 245,000 individuals who have been forced to flee from their homes in search of food, water, and pasture, particularly in the country’s central and southern areas. The situation is set to deteriorate further as Somalia confronts a fourth consecutive failing rainy season from April to June.

The DTM research anticipates two probable relocation scenarios based on the present drought severity and a review of prior drought-related data from 2017. The first predicts that 1,415,000 people will be displaced in the next six months, while the second predicts that 1,036,000 people would be displaced in the same time frame. Internally displaced persons (IDPs) and migrants, who continue to suffer perilous living conditions and a lack of services at informal sites and settlements around the country require immediate help. In Somalia, there are an estimated 2.9 million internally displaced persons.

IOM Somalia Emergency Coordinator Mohamed Abdelazim says that immediate action could prevent additional displacement as it will to save lives and livelihoods, as well as mitigate future needs. Drought conditions in Somalia have historically caused conflict over grazing lands and water sources, leading to increased conflict and the displacement of people. IOM is collaborating with the government, UN agencies, and local partners to meet IDPs’, migrants’, and vulnerable groups’ urgent water requirements. Water trucking, hygiene kit distribution, and borehole and shallow well development are all underway in 103 locations. These initiatives are aimed at averting a humanitarian crisis that would increase already-existing needs exacerbated by prolonged war and the effects of climate change.

By the end of March, the ongoing intervention is expected to have reached 255,000 people. As the drought intensifies, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) is requesting more funding to extend its water, health, protection, camp administration, shelter, and non-food item assistance. Based on prior drought displacement trends in Somalia, affected communities are likely to migrate from rural to urban areas, adding to the burden in areas that already have a high number of IDPs and few resources.

Abdelazim further states that IOM is concentrating on assisting communities where the IDPs live or in smaller towns near their origins, while also scaling up preparedness activities in major cities. Any further influx of people into big cities will strain key services like health care, resulting in disease outbreaks and other severe concerns. IOM also hopes to reach communities whose livestock is vital to agricultural value chains through its response. This may help to reduce food insecurity, natural resource conflict, and forced displacement.

The Global Disaster Response Platform of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) gives an overview of the organization’s planned operations and financing requirements in response to the changing needs and aspirations of persons affected by or at danger of crisis and displacement. Stay tuned for further updates regarding the humanitarian situation in Somalia.

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