Somalia is bracing for record levels of displacement in 2021 due to severe drought which is ravaging parts of the country, leaving many people without water and livelihoods, a global charity warned Wednesday.
Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) said more than 1 million people were displaced by floods, conflict and drought in Somalia last year, the highest figures since 2016, citing data from the UNHCR-led Protection and Return Monitoring Network (PRMN).
Mohamed Abdi, NRC country director, said the drought will most likely be the driving factor displacing a large number of Somalis this year due to the poor performance of seasonal rains.
“Our staff on the ground are reporting that more than 50 districts are currently experiencing moderate to severe drought levels and it is expected to get worse,” Abdi said in a statement issued in Mogadishu.
Abdi said water and pasture resources are depleting every day and resulting in people abandoning their homes with their livestock to search for better conditions.
“We are worried that drought coupled with conflict could see record levels of displacement this year,” he said.
So far, 112,000 have been displaced in the first three months of 2021, of whom 34 percent were uprooted because of drought, NRC said.
The last time more than 1 million people were displaced in Somalia was in 2017, when drought ravaged the country and caused widespread suffering and uncertainty.
The charity said the impact of drought in Somalia runs parallel with the impact of flooding in other parts of the country.
The UN’s 2021 aid appeal for Somalia seeks 1.09 billion U.S. dollars to assist 4 million people in dire need, as a result of widespread insecurity, recurring climate disasters and the indirect economic impact of COVID-19.
Abdi, however, said around 13 percent of Somalia’s aid appeal has been donated so far, nowhere near enough to sustain the population as it battles drought and multiple other crises.
“The international community must not turn their back on Somalis, particularly pastoralist communities, who are impacted the most. We must do all we can to prevent another cycle of suffering in Somalia,” he said.