The international humanitarian organisation is bringing water trucks and other aid to communities that have seen little or no rain over the last three rainy seasons (24 months) in the East African nation.
The UN estimates that 2.3 million people in Somalia are already suffering with serious water, food and pasture shortages. Livestock are becoming gaunt and dying, and a Somalia government minister has warned that families could starve to death as they slide deeper into poverty.
Somalia’s government declared a state of emergency this week and called on the world to come to its aid as the country enters its dry season amid a major food security crisis.
Concern has said it is critical that the international community takes immediate action. The charity warned that the situation will worsen rapidly if the world does nothing, potentially leading to further displacement of people and high rates of malnutrition, which usually impacts children the most.
Danny Harvey, Executive Director of Concern Worldwide (UK), said: “This is a dire situation that requires immediate and urgent action. The communities affected by the drought are already vulnerable. Now, they risk losing their livestock, their livelihoods and possibly their lives. We must act quickly to mitigate the impacts of the drought, that are worsening every day."
Conditions are particularly bad in the Gedo region in the south west of the country, where it borders Ethiopia and Kenya, where rainfall levels have been below average over the last three rainy seasons.
The drought has already resulted in the failure of crop production and the price of food and water in the region has increased significantly, with many people moving to larger towns to try and find work.
The price of 50kg of sorghum, a cereal grain, has increased from US$8 to US$30 and many people are struggling to afford the very basic items they need to survive.
There are huge concerns about a potential increase in water borne and other diseases, alongside the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
Long-term weather forecasts are predicting up to 150 days of more dry weather ahead.
With water particularly scarce and unaffordable to most people, Concern is trucking water to try and alleviate this desperate situation. In addition, the organisation is deepening wells, assessing non-functioning boreholes for repair and providing cash assistance to provide the most immediate forms of assistance.
Concern has been working in Somalia since 1986. To donate and support Concern’s work visit https://www.concern.org.uk/
For more information or interview requests, please Hannah Myerson, Senior Communications Officer, at [email protected].