Somalia’s new President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has urged citizens to chip in and help those severely affected by drought in the country, especially internally displaced people in camps.
“I urge all Somalis wherever they are to come to the rescue of the people affected by the drought, share with them whatever is in our possession,” he said.
“Our youngsters in the camps need all basics such as education,” he added.
He also urged international partners to chip in to save those in need.
President Mohamud spoke on Wednesday after visiting several camps for internally displaced people (IDPs) in and around Baidoa town, the interim capital of South West State, 240 km southwest of the capital Mogadishu.
The camps are hosting thousands of people who fled their homes due to threats by the jihadist group Al-Shabaab as well as the devastating drought that is currently affecting many parts of the Horn of Africa region.
The IDPs said there was a scarcity of food and water in many parts of the countryside, leading them to move to seek help.
Mohamud, who was elected president on May 15, arrived in Baidoa town on Tuesday as part of a tour to federal member states to get first hand understanding of the situation in upcountry areas.
On Tuesday, United Nations top humanitarian official for Somalia, Adam Abdelmoula, said that an immediate response is required to control a drought that is affecting 7.1 million people, including 370,000 severely malnourished children.
He also warned of heightened risks of famine.
In March, the UN warned that the Horn of Africa was "experiencing the worst drought since 1981", and a shortfall in aid funding was putting the lives of millions of Somalis in danger. The situation has been worsened by conflict.
The UN and its partners called for more financing to provide urgent humanitarian aid.
According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Somalia is currently one of the most severely drought-impacted country in the Horn of Africa. "Some 4.5 million Somalis are directly affected by the drought, and about 700,000 people have been displaced," it said.
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While the UN International Children's Emergency Fund (Unicef) said the drought in Somalia and the Horn of Africa, mainly blamed on three consecutive seasons of failed rains, is "depriving children and their families of a home, a meal, a classroom and access to life-saving health services".
- Additional reporting by Valerie Koga