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Somalia sends aid shipments to drought-stricken regions

Internally displaced men and children shelter from the sweltering afternoon sun under a tree in Somalia on 14 March 2017 [TONY KARUMBA/AFP/Getty Images]
Internally displaced men and children shelter from the sweltering afternoon sun in Somalia on 14 March 2017 [TONY KARUMBA/AFP/Getty Images]

The Somali Ministry of Humanitarian and Disaster Management said, Tuesday, it sent the first shipments of aid to the drought-stricken regions of Hiiraan and Bakool, Anadolu News Agency reports.

Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Khadijo Mohamed Diirye, told journalists in Mogadishu that a Drought Relief Committee recently appointed by Prime Minister, Mohamed Hussein Roble dispatched a cargo plane to Beledweyne, the provincial capital of the Hiiran region and to Hudur in the Bakol region — one of the hardest-hit areas in the country.

She said aid will continue as the committee is planning to send another plane to Garbaharey, the Gedo region's capital.

The UN said Monday it allocated $17 million to the worsening drought in Somalia.

Insecurity and conflict resulted in the displacement of 777,000 people in Somalia last year, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Agency said in a statement late Monday.

READ: In the face of a deadly drought, Somalia's amorphous election discourse could trigger armed conflicts

"Overall, more than 2.9 million people are displaced within the country – one of the highest figures in the world," it said.

Most of the internally displaced live in precarious conditions and need assistance to survive.

The UN said Somalia's Shabelle River had reached historically low levels because of drought, forcing the agency to issue an alert.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said water levels in the river have reached historically low levels around the central city of Beledweyne, the provincial capital of the Hiiran region.

"Around 2 million people live in the riverine districts, depending on Shabelle River for food production & livelihoods," FAO said in a statement on Twitter.

The drought has continued to worsen, following a prolonged dry spell characterised by high temperatures.

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