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Over 700,000 displaced by drought since November in Somalia-UN

A family displaced by the drought in Haar-Haar IDP settlement in Gaalkacyo, central Somalia. Women and children represent 84 per cent of the drought-displaced population since November 2016, according to UNHCR. Photo: Jordi Casafont Torra|OCHA

At least 760,000 people were displaced by the ongoing drought between November last year and late June this year while 3.2 million people are facing a food crisis and emergency, the UN has said warning its call for increased funding still falls short by more than half.

In its humanitarian briefing this month, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) said an elevated risk of famine persists in Somalia due to severe food consumption gaps, high acute malnutrition and high disease burden. Bay region in south western Somalia experienced the highest levels of human displacement in the said periods with 182,061 people being forced to leave their homes in search of humanitarian help.

Banaadir region which encompasses the capital Mogadishu recorded the second highest number of displacements (161,856) while the Middle Shabelle registered the lowest (1,874).

OCHA further notes 363,000 children under the age of five remain acutely malnourished even as cases of cholera and acute watery diarrhea continue to be reported in many parts of the country with an upward trend every month. “The case-fatality rate of 1.5 per cent remains above the emergency threshold of 1 per cent. In addition, over 10,000 suspected cases of measles have been reported since January,” OCHA says.

RELATED: Children most affected by drought as over a million risk death in Somalia-UNICEF

Funding gaps pose a challenge to effective response to the humanitarian crisis, the UN body says but notes ‘a quick response by donors to provide funding early in the year, enabled partners to mount massive response to scale up famine prevention by delivering life-saving assistance and livelihood support.”

The UN revised its Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) this year seeking $1.5 billion targeting 5.5 million people in Somalia with life-saving assistance following the unyielding effects of the drought but has so far received 37 per cent of the appeal amounting to $557 million. Donors have also contributed a further $197 million ($42 million in pledges) for activities outside the HRP.

Based on the revised target presented to donors during the London Conference in May, humanitarian agencies still face a shortfall of $952 million.

A total of 2.7 million people had been reached with food assistance as of June 1, OCHA says.