MOGADISHU MARCH 3, 2017 (CISA) – Newly elected President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed has declared the prolonged drought in the country a national disaster.
“The president has appealed to the international community to urgently respond to the calamity in order to help families and individuals to recover from the effects of the drought disaster to avoid humanitarian tragedy,” read a statement from the presidency dated February 28.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), more than 6.2 million people – half of Somalia’s population – needed urgent humanitarian aid, including almost three million who are going hungry.
President Mohamed announcement came a day after WHO warned that Somalia was at risk of its third famine in 25 years – the last one in 2011 killed some 260,000 people.
The agency said more than 363,000 acutely malnourished children and 70,000 severely malnourished children needed urgent, life-saving support.
Because of a lack of clean water in many areas, there is the additional threat of cholera and other diseases, says the UN.
The UN humanitarian appeal for 2017 for Somalia is $864 million to provide assistance to 3.9 million people. But in December 2016, the UN World Food Program requested an additional $26 million plan to respond to the drought.
Somalia was one of four regions singled out by the UN secretary-general last month in a $4.4 billion aid appeal to avert catastrophic hunger and famine, along with northeast Nigeria, South Sudan and Yemen. All are connected by a thread of violent conflict, said the UN chief.