Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is worsening a historic drought in Somalia.
The East African country is currently experiencing its worst drought in 40 years, with the region braced in the coming weeks to endure its fourth consecutive failed rainy season, putting around 28 million people at risk of facing severe hunger. Some parts of Somalia have not seen rain for over two years.
With Somalia traditionally importing almost all of its wheat from Ukraine or Russia, the conflict is putting further strain on an already devastating food crisis. In addition, according to Mohammed Ahmed of Save the Children, Somalia is worried about the lack of attention the crisis in the Horn of Africa is receiving. “There are so many competing crises,” Ahmed told VICE World News, “and we are already seeing that the situation in Ukraine has diverted global attention. It is likely to overwhelm the agenda and donors at a critical time for Somalia.”
Almost every region in Somalia is affected by the drought, but the situation in the south of the country is particularly dire. In a camp for internally displaced people near the town of Luglow, workers there are struggling to provide enough food and water. Many people have been forced to walk for days to find sustenance after the drought has killed their farm animals and dried out their farmlands.
Somali children have told VICE World News that they eat only one meal of plain white rice in the morning, meaning they get hungry when the evening comes. Sixteen children in the camp near Luglow have died in the past week as a direct result of the drought.