MOGADISHU APRIL 1, 2016 – Thousands of people in northern Somalia may die due to the El Nino-related drought and a shortage of aid, the United Nations said on March 31.
“Without access to emergency health services, water and sanitation, thousands of people could face death due to preventable causes,” the UN said in a statement, Reuters reported.
According to the statement “there have been reported malnutrition-related deaths in Awdal region” –Somalia’s northwestern border with Ethiopia which has also been hard hit by drought.
About 1.7 million people translating to 40 percent of the population of northern Somalia’s semi-autonomous Puntland and Somaliland regions, need emergency aid, said the UN and appealed for $105 million in funding for Somalia up to September.
The UN further said only 11 percent of its earlier $885 million appeal for Somalia in 2016 has been funded, the United Nations said.
Poor rains that are forecast are likely to make things worse in northern Somalia in the coming months as predictions for Somalia’s main ‘Gu’ rainy season, from March to June, are poor, UN humanitarian coordinator for Somalia, Peter de Clercq, said in the statement.
“We risk a rapid and deep deterioration of the situation. The time to fund is now, to come back from the tipping point, avoid a greater crisis and avert loss of lives,” he said.
the severe drought has caused shortages of water and pasture, leading to livestock deaths and pushing many families into debt to survive, the UN said.
Fighting between the Islamist militant group al Shabaab and authorities in Puntland has also forced people to flee their homes, humanitarians to suspend aid and has pushed up staple food prices, according to the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET).