Hunger Worsening in Somalia Due to Climate Change, Catholic Entity Says, Calls for Action

Nurse Habiba, doing a 3 hour treatment and management to Baby NICU. Credit Trócaire Somalia.

Extreme hunger is ravaging various parts of Somalia’s Gedo region, an official of the overseas development agency of the Catholic Bishops of Ireland, Trócaire, has said, warning that the situation, which is caused by climate change might worsen if urgent action is not taken.

In a Thursday, April 7 report, Trócaire Somalia Country Manager, Paul Healy, says that what is happening on the ground is devastating and that the challenge of maternal and child birth together with the hunger crisis has made the situation worse.

“Severe hunger has taken hold and it will get much worse in the coming months unless urgent action is taken,” Mr. Healy says in the report.

He adds that at Dollow referral health center in Gedo, for instance, an average of 110 babies are delivered and discharged within 24 hours, a situation he says is common in the horn of Africa and makes the hunger situation dire as the children are vulnerable.

“These are times of great hunger. Children are the most vulnerable. There is limited access to food, and food prices are rising, predisposing families and their children to severe malnutrition,” Mr. Healy says.


He says that the hunger situation, which is as a result of climate change has contributed to the water shortage in the region. Mr. Healy adds that the shortage of water has stirred competition between people and animals in rivers and wells.

“Climate change is wreaking havoc,” he says, and continues, “Severe water shortages have heightened the risk of disease outbreaks, with people and animals now competing for untreated water from hand-dug shallow wells and dwindling rivers.”

He adds, “Cases of cholera, and outbreaks of measles, are on the rise in multiple drought-affected locations. There are witnessed accounts of IDP populations feeding on animal carcasses at night, creating a further severe risk of disease.”  

According to the April 7 report, a team of doctors and healthcare workers under Trócaire have served Somalia’s Gedo region for more than 30 years. The medical teams serve up to 19,000 people monthly while providing education to more than 4,000 children.

The officials of the Catholic entity narrate how the health team saves the lives of children born in Dollow referral health center, especially those born with complications that force them to remain under the care of the hospital.

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According to the development agency of the Catholic Bishops of Ireland, the impact of the war in Ukraine is worsening the devastating food crisis for millions of people in Somalia.

The agency reports that approximately 14 million people in Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya are in dire need of help following a prolonged drought in the region that has taken almost 40 years.

“The failure of three successive rainy seasons has destroyed livelihoods and forced families to leave their homes in search of food and water,” the leadership of Trócaire says in the report.

The officials say that the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine has worsened the situation as the flow of raw materials is disrupted.

“Now, staple foods such as wheat are becoming increasingly scarce and expensive as trade routes from Ukraine and Russia are severely disrupted. Many countries in the region usually import 60-80 per cent of their wheat from Ukraine,” the officials say.


They explain, “With these imports disrupted, the price of bread and other staple foods is rapidly rising, affecting the poorest families most of all.”

As a result of the constraints in the supply of raw materials and climate change effects, Trócaire officials say that humanitarian kitty is depleted as prices of commodities keep increasing thereby overstretching people’s finances.

Trócaire leadership say that the current number of Somalians in dire need of humanitarian assistance is almost half of the total population.

The leadership of the Catholic entity says that approximately 4.3 million people in the country are victims of the worst droughts in a period of 40 years.

“Over 554,000 people have already fled their homes, flocking to already overcrowded Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps,” Trócaire officials say in the April 7 report, and add, “The number is expected to rise to 1.4 million in the coming months.”

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Silas Mwale Isenjia is a Kenyan journalist with a great zeal and interest for Catholic Church related communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communication from Moi University in Kenya. Silas has vast experience in the Media production industry. He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.