Somalia: Over one million internally displaced in 130 days due to toxic mix of conflict, drought and devastating floods

Somalia: Over one million internally displaced in 130 days due to toxic mix of conflict, drought and devastating floods

ROME - Three months after the start of the conflict in Las Anod, families and people continue to flee the fighting in the Sool territory. The influx of refugees in other parts of the country has reached levels never seen before and is putting a strain on reception capacity. Las Anod is the capital of the Sool region in southeastern Somaliland. It is an independent state of East Africa, which however has no recognition by the international community. It is made up of the northern provinces of Somalia. There has long been a dispute between the states of Somaliland and Puntland, which is instead one of the five federal states of Somalia, with autonomous statute since 1998, which became part of the Federal Republic of Somalia, born in 2012. It is located at the end of the Horn of Africa, in northeastern Somalia. The city of Las Anod was part of the former British Protectorate of Somaliland, which gained independence from the United Kingdom on June 26, 1960.

The numbers of the mass escape. The data recorded byUNHCRL'United Nations Refugee Agency and from Norwegian Refugee Council, show that conflict was a major cause of population displacement between 1 January and 10 May this year, while more than 408,000 people were forced to flee their homes as floods hit lands and villages. Another 312,000 people have been displaced by the drought. Most of them fled to the regions of Hiraan in central Somalia and Gedo in southern Somalia.

Escape and welcome. Many of those forcibly displaced arrive in overcrowded urban areas and in places that already host a high number of internally displaced people, putting a strain on resources, which are always scarce, and exposing the most vulnerable individuals to further risks: evictions, family separation and gender-based violence. Agencies and Non Governmental Organizations who work on the spot, in fact, register among the most urgent problems to be addressed the lack of food and shelter for people, the safety of minors and women, exposed to rapes and sexual assaults.

The displaced. More than 3.8 million people are now displaced in Somalia. Thus, an already terrible humanitarian situation worsens in which about 6.7 million people struggle to satisfy their basic needs: to eat, to drink clean water, to be able to obtain a minimum of health care. More than half a million Somali children are severely malnourished. In the face of such a dramatic situation that does not bode well for the future, humanitarian agencies have so far received only 22 percent of the resources needed to provide the requested assistance this year.

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