NGO appeals for intervention to fight hunger in Somaliland following prolonged drought

NGO appeals for intervention to fight hunger in Somaliland following prolonged drought

By Jean-Pierre Afadhali

Severe lack of rain has worsened the drought in parts of Somaliland leaving 725,000 people at risk of hunger and in urgent need of humanitarian support, said Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), a global humanitarian organization.

The non-government organization warned last week in a news release that it was time to intervene saying the lives lost could rise in the East African country.

“The time to act is now, or the costs will increase, both in economic terms and in terms of the number of lives lost,” said Victor Moses, Country Director for the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) in Somalia.

NRC quoted a report saying the 2018 rainy season was worse than normal with parts of Somaliland receiving only 25-50 per cent of average rainfall.

“Thousands of people particularly women and children, who are already food insecure, are now fearing the worst as little to no rain is expected over the next couple of months,” said Moses.

According to the Norway- headquartered NGO, the current dry season, from January to March, is forecast to be longer and harsher than average with the crisis expected to reach emergency levels by June, if rains don´t fall.

The Somali government and humanitarian agencies launched the 2019 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) last month and called on donors to provide $1.08bn worth of funding to sustain aid operations in Somalia in 2019, said the humanitarian organization.

Moses reiterated his appeal to the international community to do more to prevent suffering and to protect the gains the people of Somaliland were able to make during early 2018.

“Somalia has been faced with recurrent droughts, often leading to immense suffering and displacement. We have learned how important it is to secure an early intervention to prevent a crisis from escalating. In addition, there is a need to strengthen people’s resilience,” said Moses.

According to NRC, ongoing conflicts in Sool region are also exacerbating the food crisis. NRC noted it was planning to support displaced families in the troubled area of Sool and Sannag with emergency cash transfers to buy essential food, water and shelter items.

“More displaced people mean more dependency on humanitarian aid, which puts additional pressure on agencies with limited resources to reach everyone in need. This is compounded by the fact people can´t reach services because of restrictions to access. We urged all parties to the conflict to allow people safe access to services they desperately need.” Moses added.

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, a UN agency said one third of the total population of Somalia or 4.2 million people, require humanitarian assistance and protection.

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