Somalia could slide back into further political instability and humanitarian crisis owing to the triple impact of COVID-19, floods and desert locusts, the UN has said.
The UN humanitarian agency OCHA warned Tuesday Somalia’s ability to cope has been stretched beyond limit calling for swift international response to stem the tide.
“Somalia’s coping mechanisms are significantly less than those of the neighbouring countries.
Therefore, the impact [of floods, locusts and COVID-19] is not simply humanitarian but has the potential to reverse some of the political and security gains that the international community has invested in over the past decade,” OCHA’s country office head Justin Brady said.
Somalia is currently battling a fast spreading COVID-19 pandemic in addition to desert locusts which the UN has warned could be up to 400 times more harmful than the swam experienced from late 2019.
Over 500,000 people have in recent weeks been displaced in central Somalia by floods while over 2000 people have tested positive for COVID-19 with over 70 fatalities.
“We need to continue to work together and expand the coordination with the private sector, civil society and have more engagement with the diaspora,” added Brady.
While some half a million people have been displaced, overall, more than a million people have been affected by flash and riverine floods in Somalia.
One of the hardest hit areas is Belet Weyne, which first experienced severe flooding late last year, when the Shabelle River burst its banks due to heavy rains.
Since 1990, Somalia has experienced 30 climate-related hazards, 12 droughts and 18 floods – three times more the number of climate-related hazards experienced between 1970 and 1990. In 2017, a severe drought left Somalia on the verge of famine.
In 2019, a delayed and erratic Gu’ rainy season resulted in the poorest harvest since the 2011 famine and flooding.