Somalilandsun – Refugees International released a new report today examining the dire drought conditions and large-scale displacement unfolding throughout Somalia. The report, On the Edge of Disaster: Somalis Forced to Flee Drought and Near Famine Conditions, details the desperate circumstances of newly displaced families who have arrived in urban areas in need of live-saving assistance and the challenges in responding to their needs during the worsening drought.
“Many of the displaced are currently living in squalid conditions where they not only lack adequate food, water, and shelter, but also are exposed to risks that threaten their health and physical safety, including sexual and gender-based violence,” said Mark Yarnell, Refugees International senior advocate.
Given the severe, protracted drought, more than 800,000 Somalis have been forced to flee their homes and villages in order to reach humanitarian aid. Many of these internally displaced persons (IDPs) have gone to urban centers that are under the control of the Somali government and African Union peacekeepers. In cities like Mogadishu and Baidoa, the humanitarian community is struggling to keep pace with thousands of new arrivals in a challenging operating environment. Moreover, getting aid to some of the most affected rural areas has been a challenge due to the presence of Al-Shabaab and other non-state militant groups.
The Somali government, the United Nations, and donor governments, including the United States, United Kingdom, and the European Union, deserve credit for acting early to address the risk of famine and avoiding a wide-scale loss of life. But the emergency is far from over.
“The failure of the most recent rains and a third consecutive season of below normal harvest have prolonged the crisis and left significant numbers of Somali communities in desperate circumstances,” said Alice Thomas, manager of RI’s Climate Displacement Program. “In addition to the immediate needs, the deteriorating climate conditions over the long term mean that many IDPs will never return to their previous agricultural and pastoralist livelihoods.”
The report concludes that more attention, coordination, and planning are needed in order to meet the challenge of responding to drought displacement in a manner that promotes durable solutions and mitigates the risk of creating a large, new protracted displacement communities in Somalia.
Read the full report here.
Refugees International (RI) advocates for lifesaving assistance and protection for displaced people and promotes solutions to displacement crises. We are an independent organization, and do not accept any government or UN funding.For more information, visit www.refugeesinternational.org.