By Madeline Billet
For the past four years, Somalia has been desperate for a rainy season— a season to feed the crops, cattle, and people of the region. However, Somalians are experiencing what’s considered to be the worst drought in 40 years, resulting in mass hunger, thirst, displacement, and death.
As the drought pushes forward, it’s feared the effects will reflect those of the 2011 Somalia famine, a tragedy that took the lives of around 260,000 people. As the world has their eyes on the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the United Nations is struggling to bring attention to the widespread crisis in Somalia, one of the most vulnerable countries to the climate crisis, according to the humanitarian group, Save the Children.
While the drought is affecting 90% of Somalia’s physical land, a quarter (four million people total) of the population of the African country is left begging for aid, food, supplies, and water from their peers and outside organizations. First hand accounts report income coming in at just less than $2 a day, not enough to put nutritious food on the family’s table. Many Somalians are reporting mass malnutrition in the adolescent population, resulting in higher rates of premature death from infectious disease.
In search of a better economic and environmental state, more than 700,000 Somalians have been displaced from their homes, now using scraps of plastic to create makeshift shelters for their starving families.
With upwards of 80% of the nation’s water running completely dry, humanitarian organizations have helped by distributing outsourced food, water, and supplies, but not nearly enough to save the millions of Somalians from famine.
Of the 13,000 housed at the Kaxareey refugee camp, only about half are able to receive aid, while the remaining find sources of minimal income in town— but only enough income to feed the family with a handful of maize, per Reuters.
While the United Nations is aware of the catastrophe at the hands of this drought, only 15% of their proposed aid donation to those in need has been funded. So many displaced Somalians remain hungry and desperate for cash to keep themselves alive. The World Bank has also provided $45 million in assistance to Somalia, but the United Nations states that sustained humanitarian aid, not just one time donations, is needed to save those who are suffering, according to Reliefweb.
Save the Children’s director for Somalia urges onlookers to not abandon the drought crisis for the breaking news of Ukraine invasion, but instead remember the millions of children at risk of death from a preventable famine.