Severe drought, recurrent conflict and devastating floods have forced more than one million people in Somalia to flee their homes in just 130 days, two aid agencies said Wednesday.
The UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, and the Norwegian Refugee Council, NRC, said the record rate of displacement in Somalia in less than five months is very alarming.
The data recorded by the UNHCR and NRC show that conflict was among the main causes of displacement between Jan. 1 and May 10, while more than 408,000 people were displaced by floods sweeping across their villages
The agencies added that another 312,000 people were displaced by ravaging drought.
UNHCR Representative in Somalia Magatte Guisse said the humanitarian needs in Somalia continue to grow as a result of displacements.
“We are working together with humanitarian agencies to respond as best we can, but with new displacement climbing by the day, the needs are overwhelming,” Guisse said in a joint statement issued in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia.
“It’s a great tragedy to witness the impact on Somalia’s most vulnerable.
“They are the least responsible for the conflict and the climate crisis but are the hardest hit.”
According to the two agencies, most of the displaced fled to the regions of Hiran in central Somalia and Gedo, in southern Somalia.
Mohamed Abdi NRC Somalia Country Director said these are alarming figures of some of the most vulnerable people forced to abandon the little that they had to head for the unknown.
He said: “With one million people displaced already in less than five months, we can only fear the worst in the coming months as all the ingredients of this catastrophe are boiling in Somalia,” Abdi said.
“Many of those forced to flee are arriving in overcrowded urban areas and sites already hosting internally displaced people.
“This has placed immense strain on already overstretched resources and exposing vulnerable people to increasing protection risks such as evictions.’’
Over 3.8 million people are now displaced in Somalia, exacerbating an already dire humanitarian situation where some 6.7 million people are struggling to meet their food needs.
According to the UN, more than half a million Somali children are severely malnourished, but aid agencies have so far received only 22 per cent of the resources required to deliver much-needed assistance this year.