An estimated 5.9 million vulnerable children, women and men in Somalia are at risk of losing access to some or even “all of the life-saving and protection services they desperately need” due to a humanitarian funding crisis, a UN body warned Monday.

“Humanitarian needs have increased significantly in 2021, but the funding to respond to these needs is the worst in six years,” Adam Abdelmoula, the Deputy Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General, Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, was quoted as saying, according to a report released Monday by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

“Humanitarian partners can barely meet the basic needs of hungry families, desperate communities and displaced women and children,” Abdelmoula was quoted as saying.

OCHA warned that if action is not taken towards the ongoing funding crisis that Somalia is experiencing, the cost of that “could be catastrophic.”

Roughly half of Somalia’s population of over 16 million people is in need of humanitarian assistance, while some 2.9 million people in the country are still displaced from their homes and 2.8 million will need urgent food aid by September, OCHA said in the report.

While reporting a million children as malnourished in Somalia now, OCHA said the humanitarian situation in the country “has been aggravated by a double climate disaster — drought in some parts of the country and flooding in others — and the impact of political tensions, COVID-19 and the worst desert locust infestation in years.”

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