A global charity said Wednesday over 3,000 Somalis are fleeing daily due to a severe drought which is ravaging several parts of Somalia.

The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) said its latest data shows that 438,000 people in Somalia have been displaced since November 2016, by the worst drought the country has experienced in 20 years.

“Over 3,000 people a day are being forced to abandon their homes in search of water and food. This is the highest displacement we have witnessed since the 2011 famine, and it’s spiralling higher each day,” said NRC’s Country Director in Somalia, Victor Moses.

“The indicators are lining up dangerously with what we saw in the lead up to the 2011 famine,” Moses said in a statement issued in Mogadishu.

NRC’s Protection and Return Monitoring Network, which is supported by UNHCR, has 39 partners working across Somalia gathering information on the drought.

The latest data indicates that two-thirds of all those displaced have fled from Mudug, Bay, Shabelle and Sool regions. Over half of people displaced are fleeing to three regions — Banadir, Mudug and Bay.

The report says a total of 63,000 people have arrived in Baidoa, Bay Region’s capital, since January. Almost 85,000 people have arrived in Mogadishu since November.

“Families have told us harrowing stories of abandoning their weak cattle, of being forced to leave their homes to search for food and water,” NRC said.

Forecasts indicate that below to near average rainfall is expected across most parts of Somalia between April and June.

The charity said the drought is forcing people to drink unsafe water with some 11,000 cases of cholera having been confirmed so far, while 268 people have been confirmed dead this year in areas where aid agencies have access.

“These are clear hallmarks of a catastrophe in the making, with devastating impacts to displaced families,” said Moses.

“Now is our last chance to avert a famine. Donors have been generous and the money has started to come in. We are in a race against time to turn the situation around,” he added.

NRC which is currently on the ground in affected areas has reached over 175,000 people hit by the drought so far this year. “We plan to assist over 240,000 people with cash support by mid-April,” Moses said.

The drought is inflaming an already dire humanitarian situation in Somalia. Half the population — over 6 million people — face acute food insecurity. Enditem

Source: Xinhua/NewsGhana.com.gh