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Press Release

Triple threat of drought, COVID-19 and insecurity in Mogadishu driving severe humanitarian need in Somalia, warns IRC

Following a declaration of drought from the Government of Somalia, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) is concerned about the increasing humanitarian need in the country, especially exacerbated by a precarious security situation and surging COVID-19 cases. In the last month alone, Somalia has seen a 48% increase in deaths from COVID-19 and a doubling of confirmed cases from 6687 to 13,812 cases in the last 59 days. Recent conflict in Mogadishu has been hampering humanitarian service delivery and will drive further need if the security situation deteriorates as more people become displaced.

Richard Crothers, IRC Somalia Country Director said:

“Over 80% of the country is suffering from drought conditions, cattle and crops are dying as the frequency of climate-related hazards increase. We’ve seen a spike in COVID-19 cases and deaths over the last month, with many cases going undetected and untested. In a country already suffering from severe humanitarian crises, with almost 6 million people in need, the drought will drive even more displacement and food insecurity. Now more than ever we need an increase in support and funding in order to meet the rising humanitarian need.”

Since 1990, Somalia has experienced more than 30 climate-related hazards, including 12 droughts and 19 floods – triple the number of climate-related hazards experienced between 1970 and 1990. These climate related shocks resulted in Somalia’s highest number of newly internally displaced people over the past three years at 1.2 million displaced people in 2020, compared to 884,000 in 2018 and 770,000 in 2019. In total, more than 2.6 million people are internally displaced – all of whom continue to face serious risks of marginalization, forced eviction and exclusion. With the Humanitarian Response Plan severely underfunded, standing at just 15% funded, the international community must scale up its response and invest in early action and resilience programs now if we are to avert a major humanitarian disaster.

The IRC is already operational in the main areas of concern including Mogadishu, Puntland and central Somalia, and is significantly scaling up our programming to support families with healthcare for malnourished children, unconditional cash transfers to help people quickly get the support they need, rehabilitation of boreholes and water sources as well as mobile health services to reach deeper into hard hit areas.

The IRC began working in Somalia in 1981 in the aftermath of the Somalia-Ethiopia conflict. Over the years operations faced several interruptions due to insecurity and civil unrest but has been operating continuously since 2007.

About the IRC

The International Rescue Committee responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises, helping to restore health, safety, education, economic wellbeing, and power to people devastated by conflict and disaster. Founded in 1933 at the call of Albert Einstein, the IRC is at work in over 40 countries and over 20 U.S. cities helping people to survive, reclaim control of their future, and strengthen their communities. Learn more at www.rescue.org and follow the IRC on Twitter & Facebook.