Urgent Need For Sanitation Provision For Displaced Somalis

Geneva, Switzerland

The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) has described an urgent need for sanitation provision and shelter for displaced people in Somalia which has been a conflict zone for almost three decades and has recently faced severe drought conditions.

IOM is the leading inter-governmental organization in the field of migration and works closely with governmental, intergovernmental and non-governmental partners.

2.6 million Somalis remain displaced within the country due to insecurity, drought and floods. Aid agencies, in collaboration with Somalia, launched a Drought Impact Response Plan in June following the declaration of a severe drought in the Horn of Africa, but regions including Baidoa, the capital of Bay region of Somalia remain under severe humanitarian stress.

"We have new arrivals here coming every day, every week. The biggest gap for the new arrivals is food, water and shelter - that is the main challenge," Ali Ahmed, an IOM field officer in Baidoa said in a 23 October IOM statement.

Of 15 million people living in Somalia, the agency estimates 5.4 million to be food insecure with 2.2 million of these in severe acute food insecurity conditions.

"The needs are immense, and IOM is working together with the government, communities, and international partners to provide the much-needed support, ensuring their basic needs are met," said Dyane Epstein, IOM's Chief of Mission.

Baidoa hosts one of the largest Internally Displaced (IDP) populations in Somalia with 359,994 internally displaced persons, consisting of 51,322 households on 435 sites.

The Horn of Africa is now experiencing the lowest cumulative rainfall totals since 1981. As a consequence nearly 13 million people, including 6.5 million children, are facing critical levels of hunger, Although the number of food insecure people is lower than in 2017, the situation is expected to deteriorate with anticipated continuation of the drought.

International NGO Save the Children, reported 14 October that communities are struggling to replenish water supplies, regenerate pastures and restore livestock herds, resulting in displacement.

In the first five months of 2019, an estimated 59,000 people were displaced in Somalia due to the drought conditions. In June, an estimated 1.8 million in the Horn of Africa were displaced due to drought.

There is rising incidence of malnutrition, with a disproportionate number of children affected. Severely wasted children under the age of five are 11 times more likely to die than those at a healthy weight. This population is also vulnerable to more infection and more difficult recovery.

That report specifically cites:

  • Kenya: an estimated 2.6 million people face acute food insecurity and are in need of humanitarian assistance. Another 6.8 million are one step away from reaching crisis levels of food insecurity.
  • Somalia: 2.1 million people face critical food shortages and require humanitarian support; an additional 4.2 million people are on the verge of critical shortages. More than one million children under the age of five are at risk of acute malnutrition.
  • Ethiopia: 8.1 million people are in need of food assistance

Save the Children has called on the international community to assist in diverting mass displacement and loss of life.

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