Red Cross helps 55,000 Somali families overcome drought

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Drought-stricken families in rural Somalia have been given a lifeline via 100 U.S. dollar cash grants to see them through lean times brought on by severe drought, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said in a statement on Friday.

The ICRC this week provided the grants to more than 55,000 homes around Baidoa to help families cope during a time of emergency needs. The most vulnerable households will receive up to three rounds of cash support through mobile phone money transfers.

The debilitating drought in Somalia has left more than 6 million people at risk of malnutrition and has triggered massive displacements, mostly from rural to urban areas.

“Drought conditions have decimated family’s livestock holdings and put people at risk of severe hunger. This cash infusion will help families get through the lean times so they can get the nutrition needed to outlast the drought,” said Jordi Raich, the head of delegation for the ICRC in Somalia.

In all, the ICRC, with the support of the Somali Red Cross Society (SRCS), will provide cash to up to 60,000 drought-afflicted families (360,000 persons), a 9 million U.S. dollars infusion that is ICRC’s largest-ever cash assistance program in Somalia. This grants complement work by the Red Cross earlier this year to provide food for more than 160,000 people at risk because of the drought.

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