Africa Drought and conflict displace a quarter of a million people in Somalia
MOGADISHU-A deadly combination of drought, conflict and insecurity has forced almost a quarter of a million people to flee their homes in Somalia so far this year. The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) is warning that the numbers are likely to increase in the coming months if humanitarian assistance continues to go under-funded.
“Thousands of Somali people are caught in a vicious cycle of conflict, insecurity and drought that is pushing families over the edge. Some are forced to flee their homes due to conflict while others are migrating to over-crowded camps in cities to find food and water because of drought,” says Victor Moses, Country Director for NRC in Somalia.
Around 244,000 people have been displaced between January and July this year largely due to drought and conflict according to the UNHCR and NRC-led Protection Return and Monitoring Network (PRMN).
Of these, 100,000 people were newly displaced by drought in 2019.
“Our livelihood depends on livestock. The long drought caused a lack of water and pasture, and we had to move here,” says Roda Muse (36). The pastoralist mother was forced to move with her family to Sanaag to find water and food to survive.
On top of drought and conflict-induced displacement, evictions, sometimes forced with little or no warning, also continued to rise with an estimated 134,000 displaced persons affected in the first half of the year. Of these, some 108,000 people were evicted in Mogadishu alone.
This year’s UN humanitarian aid appeal for Somalia has requested $1.08 billion for humanitarian programmes in 2019, marking it one of the largest crises in the world. Despite the growing emergency, only 47 per cent of the appeal has been funded so far this year. NRC is urging donors and governments to increase emergency aid for the Somalia crisis, warning that an already disastrous humanitarian situation risks deteriorating even further.
“Somalia’s crisis is a perfect storm of natural and human-made factors and is rapidly worsening. This never-ending barrage of problems is not only an assault on the dignity of people in Somalia, but a direct attack on their ability to survive. They have a right to survival and dignity, and it is incumbent on all of us to ensure it,” said Moses.