Drought in Somalia Leaving Somalis Destitute, UN Warns


United Nations : United Nations relief agencies have begun responding to a drought in central Somalia that has resulted in severe water shortages, a scarce supply of crops for livestock and has left Somali farmers and their families destitute, UN spokesperson Michele Montas said Friday.

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The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and its partner agencies are currently assisting Somalis in the Galgadud region of Somalia “by providing water, constructing shallow wells, and installing water pipes,” Montas told the press.

“They are also supporting health centers serving more than 20,000 children under five in the area,” Montas added.

But Montas said that the Office of Coordination and Humanitarian Affairs believes the drought is worsening.

Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Representative to Somalia, just completed his three-day trip to the region in an effort to increase support for transitional federal institutions, the foundations of government for Somalia, which has lacked an operating government since 1991.

Somalia has been persistently plagued by violence between opposition groups and the government. Opposition groups have pledged to continue fighting until Ethiopian troops who entered the country to rout Islamist rebels withdraw.

Currently, the United Nations recognizes the Somali Transitional Federal Parliament as the country’s government, the UN spokesperson’s office told the Saudi Press Agency. But that body is considered weak, and was not even able to convene in the capital Mogadishu when it was first formed.