The Somalia government on Wednesday launched a National Humanitarian Coordination Centre to help manage disasters and curb recurrent drought in the Horn of Africa nation.

The centre which was launched by Deputy Prime Minister Mahdi Mohamed Guled called on international community to increase funding and expand humanitarian programs to the drought-stricken communities.

“We call upon all our partners and UN agencies to fully engage with us in the making of systems that could better help us manage disasters and minimize the impact of such recurrent drought in Somalia,” Guled said during the launch in Mogadishu.

The launch of the centre comes a time when millions of Somalis are suffering from a severe drought affecting millions across the country.

With almost half of the Somali population in need of assistance, including 330,000 children who are acutely malnourished, the UN chief reiterated an appeal for 825 million U.S. dollars for the support of 5.5 million people for six months.

Guled said the government has done its best to respond to the drought situation and immediately engaged with the existing National Drought Committee that had in place the necessary strategy and mechanism to help alleviate the plight of the distressed population at their localities.

“As you are all aware, Somalia is prone to recurrent drought with documented irregular poor pattern of rainy seasons since 2014 as being the driver of the current drought,” Guled said.

According to the National Drought Committee over 6.8 million people across Somalia have been directly affected by the drought with nearly 1.8 million people in dire need of immediate emergency relief, but Guled warned that the number could top up to over 2.5 million people if they don’t respond urgently.

“As a result of the push-pull factors associated with similar crisis, we are witnessing a massive increase in IDP numbers into urban areas already strained with earlier displacement compounded with the lack of adequate resources to deal with such enormous influx,” he said.

“This demands more coherent and immediate effort to deal with the aftermath with the urgency it demands,” the deputy PM added.

Guled said the government is extremely concerned about the impact of the crisis, particularly in areas that are experiencing water shortages and do not have even the facilities to store water.

“Of specific concern are the reports we received from affected communities who are located close to the dried up river where all the nearby boreholes have dried up as well. In many parts of the country, caravans of destitute families have moved out of their localities to seek food and water in other areas by foot having lost their entire livestock and in some case vulnerable family members on the long trek,” he said. Enditem

Source: Xinhua/NewsGhana.com.gh