25 March 2011
The British Red Cross has released £110,000 from its Disaster Fund to help people affected by the severe drought in Somalia.
Dry weather in Somalia since October 2010 has resulted in drought conditions which are significantly affecting agricultural production, water resources and pasture.
This is devastating to a population already weakened by almost two decades of armed conflict. Thirty-two percent of Somalia’s population, around 2.4 million people, need humanitarian assistance.
Not enough rain means harvests have failed – and this has caused cereal prices to rise significantly. Livestock have also been affected by the critical shortage of water and pasture. Soaring prices will inevitably make it harder for many Somalis to get hold of food. The result will be a further increase in the number of people facing acute food crisis.
Somalia’s resilience is already weakened by limited income opportunities and reduced access to basic services such as health and nutrition. If the rain expected in April does not come, the situation in the country will become catastrophic.
Somali Red Crescent Society president Dr Ahmed said: “Far too many children under five are dying. The drought has caused acute food shortages, leaving many families unable to provide a balanced diet for their children.”
Red Cross responding
Since the beginning of the drought, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has distributed emergency supplies to half a million people throughout Somalia and has delivered water to almost one million. It is also helping people produce their own food by providing seed, tools and training.
The ICRC is providing long-term support to 36 clinics and 14 outpatient therapeutic feeding centres. With the ICRC’s help, the Somali Red Crescent Society recently opened two new health clinics in Middle Juba, a region of southern Somalia affected by conflict and drought. These two clinics alone will benefit over 100,000 people in the region.
The £110,000 released by the British Red Cross will help the Somali Red Crescent to continue providing food, healthcare, water and sanitation facilities.
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