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More Warnings About Climate-related Human Displacement In Somalia

GENEVA, Switzerland

The United Nations High Commission for Human Rights (UNHCR) issued a renewed call June 4 for urgent support for people affected and displaced by drought in Somalia.

In May 2019 OOSKAnews reported on the release of a "Blue Peace Bulletin" by think-tank Strategic Foresight Group on water and violence in Somalia. [LINK TO THIS REPORT AND AN AUDIO INTERVIEW WITH THE BULLETIN'S LEAD AUTHOR CAN BE FOUND HERE].

Late onset of this year’s “Gu” (April-June 2019) and continuation of below average rain starting in last year’s “Deyr” (October –December 2018) have caused an estimated 5.4 million people to become food insecure by July. About half of this number will be in severe conditions needing immediate emergency assistance.

The June 4 announcement follows last month’s similar urgent appeals by NGOs and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) predictions of food shortages.

UNHCR estimates that more than 49,000 people have fled their homes due to drought since the beginning of the year as they search for food, water, aid and work mostly in urban areas. People who are already displaced because of conflict and violence are also affected by the drought, at times disproportionally.

The latest drought comes just as the country was starting to recover from a drought in 2016 to 2017 that led to the displacement inside Somalia of over a million people, with many not returning to their villages.

UNHCR and humanitarian partners fear that severe climatic conditions combined with armed conflict and protracted displacement could push the country into a far bigger humanitarian emergency and they appealed for $710.5 Million USD to provide life-saving assistance to 4.5 million people affected by the drought. To date this is 20 per cent funded.

UNHCR is calling for more international action to prevent climate-related disasters, scale up efforts to strengthen resilience and to protect people affected by climate change using all available legal frameworks.