UN children’s fund (UNICEF) said on Thursday 5.2 million Somalis including three million children are in need of humanitarian assistance due to the triple threat of floods, locusts and COVID-19,
Jesper Moller, deputy representative of UNICEF Somalia said Somalia has been facing difficulties including conflict, cyclical drought and floods for decades
He called on the international community to act swiftly to avert the crisis.
“Now, to compound the situation, the impact of the locust invasion and the COVID-19 pandemic means the international community has to act fast to help save the lives of millions of Somali families, especially the most vulnerable – the children,” Moller said.
According to UNICEF, children are often the hidden victims of any emergency and are more susceptible to waterborne diseases as a result of the flooding and severe malnutrition due to food shortages.
Moller said there has been an upsurge in cases of acute watery diarrhea/cholera in recent months.
“To further exacerbate the situation, while the immediate impact of the locust invasion is on crop production, which is projected to be 10 to 15 percent lower than the long-term average, the secondary impact will be on children with an anticipated increase of being severely malnourished due to food shortages,” he added.
The UN agency said it is working tirelessly in close coordination with the government and local partners to not only prevent and mitigate the spread of COVID-19 but also to continue to provide life-saving assistance to those desperately in need.