The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) announced Tuesday that a severe drought in Somalia has displaced 245,000 people as conditions worsen in the country.

Nearly 90% of the country is now in a severe climate change-related drought, following three consecutive failed rainy seasons.

The UNOCHA said an urgent response is needed to avoid catastrophic consequences.

The drought is already having a devastating effect on the lives of Somalis.

According to a UN statement late last month, more than 3.2 million people in 66 of the country’s 74 districts are affected by the drought, of whom 169,000 are displaced in search of water, food and pasture, as of Dec. 17.

Somalia’s drought has been particularly harsh in the Jubaland, Southwest and Galmudug states and parts of Puntland.

Severe water shortages and drought conditions have also been reported in parts of Jubaland, South West especially the Bakool and Bay regions and Banadir, where the national capital of Mogadishu is located.

Humanitarian agencies and local authorities reported widespread livestock deaths and a spike in commodities prices like food, fuel, water and livestock fodder.

That was mainly attributed to insufficient rains received during the Deyr rainfall season that could not replenish the ground water source. Severe drought conditions are also leading to the possibility of pathogen accumulation in stagnant water.

“Concerns remain of people and livestock using contaminated waters, sharply increasing the risk of an Acute Watery Diarrhoea and cholera outbreak,” said the UN.

The UN already put the number of Somalis who will need humanitarian assistance this year at 7.7 million — almost half of the country’s population.

Without a scale up of assistance, an estimated 3.8 million people across Somalia will face severe forms of acute food insecurity through January 2022, rising to 4.6 million by May, according to the UN.

Nearly 90% of Somalia faces severe water shortages leaving 3.5 million people in extreme hunger during the driest season in 40 years, according to UK-based international organization Oxfam.

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