The U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has warned that famine is stalking Somalia, as years of climate-related disasters destroyed crops, dried up water sources and created an environment in which deadly diseases are flourishing.
Somalia is facing a food, malnutrition, and water crisis after three years of consecutive drought, compounded by heavy flooding, and an infestation of desert locusts. UNICEF reports that more than four million people, a quarter of the population, need humanitarian food assistance.
It says 1.4 million children are acutely malnourished, including 330,000 children who at risk of dying if they do not receive special treatment for severe acute malnutrition.
A critical shortage of water has forced families to migrate to urban and peri-urban centers, adding to the 2.9 million people who were already displaced by conflict and climate change. Since November 2021, water prices in some of the worst-affected areas have risen by as much as 72%.
Leaders have been encouraged to put aside their differences and urgently conclude a credible election process which is more than a year behind schedule, James Swan, the UN special representative and head of the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia, told the UN Security Council.