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Two million people at risk of starvation as drought returns to Somalia

Somali boys (Tasnim News Agency)Somali boys (Tasnim News Agency)Around 2.2 million people in Somalia could face starvation by September unless urgent action is taken to respond to the drought that has hit the country. Somalia is having one of the driest rainy seasons in more than 30 years. Mark Lowcock, the UN’s humanitarian chief, said there was a “rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation” there. A further 3.2 million people—about a fifth of Somalia’s population—may also suffer from depleted food supplies. Somalis have only just begun to recover from a two-year drought that ended in 2017.


Internally Displaced Persons camp in Baidoa (UN)Internally Displaced Persons camp in Baidoa (UN)
April to June is the longer of two rainy seasons in Somalia. Scientists say that cyclone activity in the southern Indian Ocean—including the severe Cyclone Idai of March 2019—is responsible for the drought, by preventing rains from moving north. It followed abnormally hot and dry conditions in the region between January and March, and lower-than-expected rainfall during the deyr, the shorter of Somalia's two rainy seasons, between October and November 2018. Because rainfall is well below what is needed, crops have been devastated and many livestock animals have perished.

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