International charity, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), on Monday called on the world to scale up humanitarian response in Somalia to help avert food crisis due to severe drought ravaging the country.
The NRC said below average rains since October 2018 have resulted in the rapid deterioration of the humanitarian situation in Somalia, leaving an estimated 2.2 million people, almost half of which are internally displaced persons (IDPs), in urgent need of food.
“The humanitarian situation has deteriorated at an alarming rate as a result of the drought,” said Victor Moses, NRC’s country director in Somalia, in a statement issued in Mogadishu.
Moses said widespread crop failure and a decline in livestock productivity are pushing communities in the worst-affected areas into acute food insecurity, noting that children are among the worst-affected and hundreds and thousands are already suffering from malnutrition.
“Urgent funding is required now to allow aid agencies to immediately scale up response and avoid a full-scale humanitarian disaster,” he warned.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said last week that the drought conditions in the rainy season have led to an increase in the number of people designated as “food insecure” in Somalia since October 2018.
OCHA warned that deterioration into crisis conditions is expected in many pastoral and agro-pastoral areas during May, due to funding shortfalls that may hamper a full implementation of the planned food assistance.
The UN agency said that the number of people in acute food insecurity crisis phase or worse has spiked by 10 percent to more than 1.7 million by April, which is more than double the 2016/17 drought period and is expected to reach 2.2 million by July.
It said the severe drought conditions are leading to further internal displacement with nearly 44,000 people estimated to have moved from rural areas into urban centers this year.