The number of people displaced by the ongoing drought and famine in Somalia is increasing every day with new arrivals in the main cities seeking humanitarian assistance.
Humanitarian agencies say the situation could escalate if expected seasonal rains do not begin in the next few weeks.
The disaster has affected over 3.5 million people, and nearly one-third of the population will be directly affected by May next year.
Hundreds of people displaced by the drought in the country were in an internally displaced camp on the outskirts of Somali capital Mogadishu. They are farmers and livestock keepers who lost their livelihoods.
Halima Hassan, a single mother of six children, just arrived in the camp a week ago from the agricultural town of Torotorow in Lower Shabelle region.
She lost her cattle due to drought and could not farm due to the delayed rainy season.
“I lost my livestock. Also [there is] no farming, [and] no water. And [there is] conflict, [so there is] nowhere to run to. That is why I came here. I have been here with this family for the past five days,” said Hassan.
The Somali government and humanitarian agencies are scaling up their efforts to reach out to displaced families like Hassan’s but it is not enough.
There is still a scarcity of food and water for the new arrivals.
“As we speak, I don’t have anything. No shelter, farm or livestock, [or] food or water. I am a burden to this family. I eat with the little they have,” said Hassan.
The Somali government declared a state of humanitarian emergency late last month as drought ravaged 80 percent of the country. Since then, local initiatives have been mobilized to reach out to hard hit areas as aid agencies appeal for more funding.
The war-torn nation has experienced more than 30 climate-related hazards since 1990, including 12 droughts and 19 floods.