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UN agency calls for urgent action to address critical water needs in Somalia

MOGADISHU, SOMALIA - MARCH 9: Somali boys wait in line at a World Food program 'wet food' distribution center in central Mogadishu. Hundreds of new arrivals, mostly from the hardest hit drought regions in the south, are pouring into Mogadishu in search of food. According to a United Nations February 2017 report, famine could soon be a reality in Somalia, largely due consecutive and severe drought. There are already worrying similarities to the situation in 2011, when 260,000 died. In the worst affected areas, chiefly rural communities, crops have been wiped out and livestock died, while communities are being forced to sell their assets, and borrow money and food to survive. Some 6.2 million are in need of humanitarian assistance. Of these, 3 million people cannot meet their daily food requirements and need urgent humanitarian assistance. UN humanitarian efforts, from UN agencies such as UN OCHA, World Food Program (WFP) and UNICEF as well as on the ground NGO's, are all in overdrive mode providing the a combination of food distribution, access and security as well as medical support and treatment. Cholera has now taken hold in remote areas as water sources become scarce and that available has become expensive to buy. Villagers affected, mostly in the southern part of the country, have resorted to drinking stagnant and dirty water with the last count of cholera victims now past 7,500. With the rainy season due in April, the probability of full-out famine will become a stark reality if the season again provides a lower than needed rainfall amount. (Photo by Giles Clarke/Getty Images)
Somali boys wait in line at a World Food program 'wet food' distribution center in central Mogadishu [Giles Clarke/Getty Images]

UNICEF, on Friday, called for urgent action to address Somalia's critical water needs due to the worsening drought in the Horn of African country, Anadolu News Agency reports.

Some 2.6 million people are facing water shortages due to severe drought conditions in Somalia, according to a UNICEF statement.

"Water scarcity and drought conditions have contributed to increased water prices leading to displacements, diarrhoea-related morbidity and malnutrition in many parts of Somalia," the statement said.

The current worst affected regions in Somalia include Gedo, Bay, Bakol, Lower Juba, Galgadud, Mudug and parts of Bari, Nugaal, Sool, Sanaag, Togdheer, and Hiraan regions.

READ: Turkish NGO provides food aid to Somalis suffering from drought

The statement said that more than two million people in 66 districts are in acute need and will require immediate life-saving water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services for the next six months.

Among the most at risk are 1.7 million children and women who are exposed to protection risks due to limited water resources.

"Without urgent scale-up of WASH services, over three million people will be in acute need by end of March 2022 and will not have access to the minimum daily water requirement of 45L per family," according to UNICEF.

When contacted by Anadolu Agency, Somalia's Humanitarian and Disaster Management Ministry declined to comment.

Somalia is currently battling the worst drought in decades, which has already claimed the lives of at least seven people, including five children, in the country's Gedo region.

AfricaInternational OrganisationsNewsSomaliaUNICEF
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