‘Nothing to eat’: Somalia’s climate crisis, Covid and conflict
Prolonged droughts, shrinking water resources and lack of fertile land are fuelling tensions between clans and creating large-scale displacement across Somalia. A cluster of overlapping crises are menacing the fragile east African country, with the climate crisis exacerbating existing conflicts and contributing to new ones, Covid-19 claiming lives and livelihoods, and political instability never far away.
The result, warn humanitarian agencies, is hunger: the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) warned earlier this month that Somalia is “on the cusp of a humanitarian catastrophe”, with one in four people facing high levels of acute food insecurity and more than 800,000 children under the age of five at risk of acute malnutrition.
Somalia is vulnerable to increasingly erratic and extreme weather patterns, such as repeated droughts and seasonal floods. In the former, crops fail, and livestock die from lack of water and food; in the latter, they are simply washed away. Like much of the region, the country has also had to contend this year and last with swarms of desert locusts that consume approximately their own weight in fresh food every day.
The UN said Somalia was facing the worst funding shortage in six years.