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From drought to floods, Somalia at risk of ‘crisis-level’ hunger: WFP

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Photo: WFP/Petroc Wilton. Hoawatako Primary School in Beletweyne, Somalia, is almost deserted as floodwaters rise.

Climate extremes will keep hunger in Somalia at record highs, warned the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) on Tuesday, as deadly floods sweep the country, devastating deeply food-insecure communities still battling to recover from the country’s longest recorded drought.

A quarter of Somalia’s population is forecast to face “crisis-level hunger or worse”.

The floods, which followed heavy rains that started in early October, have already killed at least 32 people and forced more than 456,800 from their homes in Somalia, according to the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

“The most vulnerable people in Somalia have been hit once again by climate change. With these floods following right after the drought, it feels like a relentless bombardment of climate shocks for struggling families,” said Laura Turner, WFP Somalia Deputy Country Director.

“Humanitarian aid brought people back from the brink of starvation in 2022, but Somalia is still facing the highest levels of hunger it has suffered in over a decade. We need to provide communities with the tools and knowledge to weather these extremes to break the crisis-driven cycle of hunger that has afflicted Somalia for too long.”

In October, as ominous weather forecasts predicted heavy rain and floods exacerbated by El Niño weather pattern, WFP activated a flood anticipatory action programme – its first in Africa – in coordination with the Government of Somalia.

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