MOGADISHU, Somalia

More than 2.5 million people in Somalia are in need of humanitarian assistance due to natural disasters, conflict, and the coronavirus pandemic, a top official said on Sunday.

“Water shortages, locust swarms, floods, COVID-19, and terrorism are all major challenges for Somalia,” Khadija Diriye, the humanitarian affairs and disaster management minister, told a news conference in the capital Mogadishu.

Finance Minister Abdirahman Duale Beileh also said several world bodies have responded to the government’s call for help, including the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the World Bank, and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

Beileh, who also heads the country’s humanitarian response commission, called on the Somali people to put up a united front and help those in need.

On Friday, the UN Humanitarian Office said that since last November more than 83,000 people have been displaced in Somalia due to water shortages.

“Coupled with conflict, insecurity and other drivers of crisis, the harsh weather and forecasted below-average rains in some areas will increase humanitarian needs,” the agency’s Somalia chapter said on Twitter.

It said humanitarian partners are delivering water to roughly 300,000 affected people in Somalia, while the Somalia Humanitarian Fund, a multi-donor country-based pooled mechanism, is allocating some $13 million for a response.

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