MOGADISHU – Over 55,000 people have fled Somalia over the last two months because of drought and conflict, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) said Monday.
The humanitarian organisation said tens of thousands of people have arrived in Kenya’s sprawling Dadaab refugee camp since September, resulting in an increased strain on scarce resources and emergency assistance.
A total of 120,000 refugees at expected to arrive at the camp, one of Africa’s largest, by early 2023, estimated IRC, as extreme weather events and chronic political instability continue to impede Somalia’s development and force people to migrate.
“In Somalia where extreme drought and violence continue to displace thousands of people both internally and across borders, international leaders must ensure immediate funding is utilised to bring relief to and prevent displacement of 7 million people in need of humanitarian assistance,” said Mohamed El Montassir Hussein, IRC Kenya County Director.
Regions across Somalia have been plagued by severe drought over the past two years, with more than 1 million people displaced from their homes in search of food, water, and humanitarian assistance, according to the UN.
This prolonged extreme weather event, the worst in 40 years, has been attributed to the increasingly severe impacts of climate change on delicate ecosystems in the African continent.
The UN World Food Programme warned last month that unless international funding was scaled up, famine will ensue in Somalia’s Baidoa and Burhakaba regions as a result of poor harvests and desertification. The IRC also warned that more funding was needed to avoid a major catastrophe in the African country.
Dadaab refugee camp, which has seen successive waves of migration since 1991, is already three times its intended size.
Local relief agencies have raised concerns that a lack of basic services and overcrowding will lead to secondary health risks, such as the outbreak of contagious diseases.
Source: The New Arab