AFPEA malnourished child in Ethiopia
NOS Nieuws•vandaag, 14:29
About 43,000 Somalis died last year as a result of the country’s worst drought in 40 years. This is stated in a report by the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF. Half of them are probably children, the organizations say.
The drought is not over yet and people will also die from the consequences of the drought in the coming year. At least 18,000 people are expected to die in the first half of this year. Due to the drought, more than six million Somalis are suffering from severe hunger because the harvests fail.
It is the first official death toll to be announced following the drought in a large part of the Horn of Africa. Although the United Nations has not officially declared a famine in the country, it is said to be an “extremely critical situation.”
Drought is common in the Horn of Africa, but the drier periods alternate with two rainy seasons per year. It has not rained in the past two years, which means that five rainy seasons have already been missed.
UN emergency aid coordinator Martin Griffiths also called the situation in Somalia unprecedented last year:
Somalia on the brink of famine
Climate experts say recent developments are worse than the 2011 famine in Somalia. A quarter of a million people died.
At the end of February this year, 3.8 million Somalis were displaced, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM). That is a record number. Most of them leave for neighboring countries. Others remain in Somalia but live in refugee camps. The country has been mired in violent conflict for decades. Part of the country is in the hands of the Islamic terrorist group Al-Shabaab, which means that humanitarian aid does not reach all places in Somalia.
The drought is expected to continue this year. This means that Somalia, as well as neighboring countries Ethiopia and Kenya, are facing a sixth missed rainy season.
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