AFPVN chief Guterres is shown around the camp in Baidoa
NOS Nieuws•vandaag, 13:42
Somalia is suffering the consequences of a climate crisis for which it is hardly to blame. UN Chief António Guterres said this during his visit to the East African country. In addition to the extreme drought, which killed 43,000 people last year, there is now also a threat of famine. Nearly half of the population is in urgent need of humanitarian aid, according to the UN. it concerns about 8.3 million Somalis.
Guterres made his statements after a visit to a refugee camp in Baidoa, in the southwest of the country. The camp is for people who have fled their homes because of the drought and the ongoing fighting between the terrorist organization Al Shabaab and Somali government forces.
The US ambassador to Somalia said last month that Somalia had recaptured about a third of Al Shabaab’s territory. The government claims to have killed 3,000 fighters from the terror organization since the government offensive began last year, but the Islamist terror movement has repeatedly demonstrated its ability to strike back with deadly attacks.
Five dry rainy seasons
Meanwhile, the dry periods in the country follow one another. Five rainy seasons have already been missed, causing 1.4 million Somalis to flee to other areas. That group consists of 80 percent women and children, says UN chief Guterres. The drought has enormous consequences for this country where most of the population lives from agriculture and especially from livestock. Millions of goats, sheep and cows have died because they could no longer find grass and water.
“It is unscrupulous that Somalis, who have done almost nothing to cause the climate crisis, are suffering its terrible consequences,” Guterres said. “Climate change is causing chaos.”
More help is urgently needed, according to the UN chief. He said only 15 percent of the $2.6 billion in aid needed for Somalia this year has been provided.
Africa correspondent Elles van Gelder and cameraman Sven Torfinn traveled to Baidoa at the end of last year. Among other things, they visited a center where the most malnourished children are helped:
How hunger grips the town of Baidoa: ‘This child weighs 5.1 kilos’