At least 3.5 million people are projected to fall into crisis or emergency food insecurity in Somalia between June and September, the UN humanitarian agency said on Monday.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said some one million more children are projected to be malnourished.
“Some 2.6 million people will remain displaced and nearly one million school children out of class due to the COVID-19 related closure of schools,” said OCHA in its latest humanitarian report.
The UN said since March 16 after the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in Mogadishu, the triple threat of the virus, floods and desert locusts has aggravated Somalia’s complex, protracted humanitarian crisis.
It said the crisis is largely driven by climatic shocks, years of armed conflict, widespread poverty and long-term vulnerability which have left 5.2 million people in need of humanitarian assistance in 2020.
According to OCHA, the Gu’ (April-June) rains have eased, but the impact of the recent flooding remains widespread.
It said about 1.2 million people were affected by flooding in 32 districts across Somalia, with almost half a million displaced from their homes.
“While most of the displaced have returned home, they need assistance to rebuild their lives. Moreover, many of them are at risk of being affected again when the Deyr rains start in October,” said the UN agency.
According to OCHA, humanitarians are also concerned that the coming rains may escalate the current outbreak of water-borne diseases, particularly acute watery diarrhea and cholera.
“From January to mid-June, more than 4,430 cases with 24 deaths have been confirmed in 23 districts; a three-fold increase compared to the same period in 2019,” said OCHA.
The UN agency said since March 16, the COVID-19 caseload surged to nearly 3,000, exacerbating pre-existing vulnerabilities, disrupting socio-economic gains and affecting livelihoods especially of low-income earners and families that depend on remittances from relatives living abroad.
It said the virus has also reduced the humanitarian footprint in-country with staff working from home or in restricted environments.
Despite the restrictions, said the UN, humanitarians have managed to scale up responses to the humanitarian consequences of the pandemic and support to the government and member states to mitigate the spread and impact of the virus.