The dry season Somalia has been witnessing is the worst in 40 years with more fears over a rise in famine and displacement.
Qatar Charity laid the foundation stone of a village in Baidoa, Somalia on Saturday, with the aim of providing displaced populations with much-needed shelter.
The village comprises 67 residential units, a health clinic, primary and school, mosque, and a vocational training centre. Benefitting at least 12,000 displaced persons, the area will also include a drinking well and a centre for learning and memorising the Quran.
“The construction of the residential village will ease the burdens on thousands of families who have been displaced from their homes and villages due to drought,” said Abdul Aziz Mohamed, the President of the Southwest State of Somalia.
The Somali official noted that the people of Somalia have been particularly impacted by the delay in the rainy season, making them more in need of humanitarian assistance.
Baidoa is the second largest city in the country where displaced populations live.
Qatar’s efforts in Somalia
Qatar’s latest efforts to provide a roof for thousands of displaced persons come as part of wider relief projects being conducted in the crisis-hit nation.
In April, Qatar announced plans to invest $1.5 million as part of an emergency response and “resilience-building” in Somalia. Then in June, Qatar Charity announced efforts to provide 7,000 people in Baidoa with basic food items.
According to the World Food Programme (WFP), Somalia is on the verge of a famine, as 500,000 Kenyans are suffering from emergency hunger, and a total of 7.2 million Ethiopians living in drought-stricken areas are struggling to secure their basic food needs.
The WFP has also warned that a lack of rain or enough humanitarian aid could exacerbate the situation in Somalia. According to the report, six million Somalis, or 40% of the population, are currently suffering from severe food insecurity.
In August, the UN said that more than 755,000 people have been internally displaced in Somalia because of the country’s severe drought, raising the total to one million since January last year.
The dry season is the worst in 40 years, with more fears over a rise in famine and displacement.
The UN warned that the number of people facing hunger is expected to rise from some five million to more than seven million in the coming months.
“Starvation is now haunting the entire country. We are seeing more and more families forced to leave everything behind because there is literally no water or food left in their villages. Aid funding urgently needs to be ramped up before it is too late,” said Mohamed Abdi, the Norwegian Refugee Council’s Country Director in Somalia.