Somali President Urging Public to Help Millions Hit by Drought

Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has called on the Somali public to join the government’s effort to help millions of people in the country affected by the drought. The U.N. says 7.7 million Somalis have been affected by the drought.

Speaking at a mosque in the country’s capital, Mogadishu, Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud called on citizens to join his government’s efforts to help Somalis devastated by the worst drought in more than 40 years in the Horn of Africa nation.

Mohamud said those affected the most by the drought are the elderly and children, who are experiencing severe malnutrition.

He says the drought and its circumstances have worsened, and it now has reached a state of famine and death. The livestock are already gone, there was much hunger, he said, but the government has been doing whatever it can to help people, and the world is helping. He emphasized that the Somali people and those abroad need to double their efforts to reach a lot of people in time of great need.

Mohamud was elected in May by the country’s parliament for a second time, and he announced shortly after taking office that his government’s priority was to battle the current prolonged drought that has devastated 90 percent of the country.

He also appointed a special envoy for drought response to facilitate the humanitarian activities in the country.

According to the United Nations office for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), 7.7 million Somalis have been affected by the drought, and nearly a million people have been displaced. Drought-related malnutrition has killed more than 500 children since January of this year.

The U.N. Migration Agency (IOM) in Somalia told VOA on Saturday the people displaced from the drought are living under extreme conditions.

Claudia Rosel is the IOM media and communications officer, and she said the numbers of those displaced by drought have been steadily increasing since the beginning of this year.

“Those who are newly displaced due to drought are on top of 2.5 million people who were already internally displaced in Somalia due to natural hazards and conflicts over the years,” said Rosel. “And now what we are preoccupied with is that in just one year, we are seeing almost 1 million people nearly displaced due to drought conditions and most of them – they won’t be able to go back to their communities of origin because they have lost everything.”  

The Somali prime minister’s office said the drought has affected more than 15 million livestock — 28 percent of Somalia’s total livestock population — while killing more than 2 million other animals.

Somalia’s southern Jubaland state minister of planning, Abdirahman Abdi Ahmed, told VOA Somali service that 200 children have died because of drought-related illnesses during the past three months.

 

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