UN appeals for urgent funds to deliver live-saving aid to drought-stricken Somalia

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The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) on Tuesday appealed for urgent humanitarian funds to assist drought-stricken Somalia, where half of the country’s population is at risk of losing vital life-saving assistance due to funding shortages.

The OCHA said the Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) for this year is only 30.5% funded ($793 million) as of mid-year, requiring $2.6 billion to meet the needs of 7.6 million Somalis.

“Given the immense humanitarian needs, additional funds are urgently needed to deliver life-saving assistance,” the organization said in a statement.

The situation in the Horn of Africa country will worsen if emergency assistance does not reach all people in need, particularly in agropastoral areas of Hiraan, urban and displacement sites in Belet Weyne, and pastoral areas of central Somalia, according to the organization.

Somalia is the region’s most drought-affected country, displacing millions and killing an estimated 43,000 people.

The devastating effects of the country’s worst drought in 40 years are now accompanied by floods.

Earlier this month, two girls drowned in floodwaters east of Jowhar, the administrative capital of the central state of Hirshabele.

Floods have displaced 9,600 people in several villages in Balcad, a town 40 kilometers (24 miles) from the capital Mogadishu.

According to the OCHA, 11 villages in South West State were inundated earlier this month, displacing 14,400 people and washing away crops, as rains continue to fall in northern and southern coastal areas of the country.

The organization warned that El Nino and a positive Indian Ocean Dipole are expected to cause heavy rainfall and flooding in October, particularly along the Shabelle and Juba rivers.