UN says dry spell may worsen humanitarian crisis in Somalia

Published: March 19, 2019

Dry conditions have worsened in Somalia with humanitarian partners across the country reporting critical water shortages during the month of February, the UN relief agency said on Monday.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said aid agencies have already observed stress-induced migration among pastoralist communities in the worst-hit areas in Somaliland and Puntland with some moving to urban centres in search of day labor or to join relatives.

“The current rainfall projection indicates normal-to above-average precipitation across most of the country; even in the drought-affected areas of Somaliland, the likelihood of normal rainfall is around 70 per cent,” OCHA said in its latest humanitarian report.

The Horn of Africa nation experienced a prolonged drought from late 2016 through late 2017 that resulted in significant livestock losses and consecutive seasons of below-average production, causing severe and at times extreme acute food insecurity.

The UN humanitarian agency said the dry conditions follow a poor 2018 Deyr rainy season (from October to December), even as ongoing conflict and forced evictions continue to disproportionately affect those who are already displaced.

“If the next Gu (main rainy) season (from April to June) performs poorly, those in the Stressed phase may find their situation deteriorating further,” it warned.

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