The United Nations humanitarian agency has appealed for additional funding to help avert the impact of the worsening drought in Somalia.
According to the latest drought update released on Thursday, The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) said the UN Central Emergency Response Fund has released 8 million U.S. dollars and the Somalia Humanitarian Fund allocated 6 million dollars to respond in the hardest-hit districts.
It said a rapid assessment is underway to identify the most vulnerable people and needs in the most affected locations, adding that humanitarian partners, authorities and local communities are in the meantime scaling up assistance.
“Without a scale-up of humanitarian assistance, some 3.8 million Somalis are estimated to face acute food insecurity through January, rising to 4.6 million people by May,” said the UNOCHA.
Somalia is experiencing a worsening drought following three consecutive failed rainy seasons, and is at risk of a fourth consecutive underperforming rainy season in 2021, according to the UN.
It said more than 2.8 million people in 66 of the country's 74 districts have been affected and nearly 133,000 displaced in search of food, water and pasture.
The Somali government declared a state of emergency due to the drought on November 23 and appealed for international assistance.
The UN agency said the drought is compounding severe vulnerabilities and humanitarian needs caused by decades of protracted conflict and insecurity, climate shocks and disease outbreaks.
It said the deteriorating situation has compounded vulnerabilities at a time when the number of people who need assistance and protection in Somalia is forecast to rise by 30 percent from 5.9 million to about 7.7 million in 2022.
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