Somalia on the brink: millions of people at risk as drought worsens

Somalia on the brink: millions of people at risk as drought worsens




It is a dire milestone in Somalia: one million people have been displaced by what the United Nations is calling ‘catastrophic’ drought.

After a two-year dry spell, locals are leaving everything in a bid to try and farm elsewhere to find food.

The UN is now warning that a famine is on the horizon.

For more on this Euronews spoke to Karl Schembri from the Norwegian Refugee Council in Kampala.

Euronews: Paint a picture for us of what people there are experiencing on the ground, because, I mean, the images that we’re seeing are already horrifying.

Karl Schembri: It is indeed horrifying.

I was there only last June and the extreme heat there where I met families who have had to flee and abandon everything, their homes, their farms, they’ve run out of water.

There is absolutely no water, completely, literally dry areas from which they have had to flee from that have livestock.

A lot of them are farmers. Dry land — walking over 200 kilometres to reach the next safest place with their children.

Some of them with very emaciated donkeys trying to help them carry something from home, but literally with nothing as they reach the displacement settlements — very bare places where they are trying to seek shelter.

And these are the ones who can make it. These are the ones who are able to walk all those distances, never mind those left behind.

I was told that for some people who have been left behind, it’s only a matter of time until they will die, unless aid reaches them, which is extremely hard because we are extremely under now.

Funding is thankfully coming in, but we need to be faster and we need more and more aid workers and agencies working on the ground.

Euronews: I guess the question is when we’ve seen, five rainy seasons fail and the next one expected to fail as well and we acknowledge climate change as having a role in this. Is it enough to just keep helping people in their country like this from the international community?

Karl Schembri: Well, we have to help these people in the immediate and some urgent needs to save lives.

We’re about to reach the seven million mark of people facing extreme hunger inside Somalia.

This is this is rising as we speak.

And the moment that the UN declares famine, it’s going to be too late to save these people.

That’s why we need to give aid now.

We need the funding now just to save lives.

But, of course, there needs to be the infrastructure and investment in dams and water resources and all sorts of solutions that would help these communities stay at home and keep living there.

But right now, it’s a life or death situation for over a million people who have been displaced and even more who have been forced to stay back home because they have no means to travel or not.

They’re not fit enough. 

Watch the video above to see the interview.

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