According to UN sources, more than five million Somalis—representing nearly half of the population—need immediate humanitarian assistance. Nearly one in five across the country were forced to abandon their home, with half of them seeking refuge abroad. With failing crops for a third consecutive year, these numbers could continue to climb. To many abroad, there is little apparent hope in the foreseeable future for the Horn of Africa. The scene in Mogadishu however suggests a shift is happening.
THE STARK REALITY: FOOD CRISIS IN SOMALIA, SOUTH SUDAN, YEMEN AND NIGERIA
The reality of the escalating famine lingers among some of the world’s most vulnerable groups of people in Eastern Africa, and beyond. Having already endured the effects of civil war, poverty, and terrorism, the intensifying need for humanitarian assistance continues to increase throughout Somalia, South Sudan, Yemen, and northern Nigeria.
Communications are a vital element of humanitarian assistance. As system-wide coordination took shape, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Somalia expanded its public information campaign on drought response and strategized new ways of informing people about its operations – both to make the public aware of the UN’s efforts and to provide information on where, when and how communities could get help themselves if affected by the drought.
International UN Volunteer Solomon Bekele (Ethiopia) has been serving with the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in South Sudan since April 2016 as the Pastoralist Literacy and Education Specialist for the project: Enhanced Knowledge and Education for Resilient Pastoral Livelihoods in South Sudan.
In Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states, the ongoing threat of horrific acts by the insurgency of Boko Haram coupled with the worse drought in recent history have made tending of the land and harvesting of crops nearly impossible for rural populations. This double scourge is pushing millions of Nigerians beyond the brink.