Concern Worldwide is responding to an urgent drought emergency in Somalia where it is feared families could starve to death.
The Irish humanitarian organisation is bringing water trucks and other aid to communities that have seen little or no rain over the last three rainy seasons (24 months) in the East African nation.
The UN estimates that 2.3 million people in Somalia are already suffering with serious water, food and pasture shortages.
Livestock are becoming gaunt and dying and a Somalia government minister has warned that families could starve to death as they slide deeper into poverty.
Somalia’s government declared a state of emergency this week and called on the world to come to its aid as the country enters its dry season amid a major food security crisis.
Concern said it is critical that immediate action is taken by the international community.
“The situation will worsen rapidly if the world does nothing,” warned Concern Worldwide Chief Executive, Dominic MacSorley, who approved a €100,000 emergency donation to the Concern team in Somalia to fund their response.
“We know that we will see further displacement of people and high rates of malnutrition, which usually impacts children the most.
“More poor rainfall followed by the dry season will worsen water and food insecurity and we are likely to see a high number of livestock deaths.
“The affected Somali people need our help and we will do all that we can to prevent this crisis from worsening.
“Water is particularly scarce and unaffordable to most people, which is why we are trucking water to try and alleviate this desperate situation.”
Conditions are particularly bad in the Gedo region in the south west of the country, where it borders Ethiopia and Kenya, where rainfall levels have been below average over the last three rainy seasons.
The drought has already resulted in the failure of crop production and the price of food and water in the region has increased significantly with many people moving to larger towns to try and find work.
The price of 50kg of sorghum, a cereal grain, has increased from US$8 to US$30 and many people are struggling to afford the very basic items they need to survive.
There are huge concerns about a potential increase in water borne and other diseases, alongside the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Long-term weather forecasts are predicting up to 150 days of more dry weather ahead.
In addition to water trucking, Concern is deepening wells, assessing non-functioning boreholes for repair and providing cash assistance to provide the most immediate forms of assistance.
Concern has been working in Somalia since 1986. To donate to support Concern’s work visit www.concern.net.