Coronavirus, locusts and flooding: Will Somalia be ready for its polls?
The United Nations has appealed for support for Somalia, as the Horn of Africa nation faces a triple threat of: locusts, COVID-19 and flooding. The challenges are compounded by what the international body has called inherent weaknesses in coping mechanisms.
Somalia’s confirmed COVID-19 cases now stand 2089, one of the highest in the East and Horn of Africa region. The pandemic and public health response measures have complicated the country’s existing security and food challenges, in what the UN views as a looming humanitarian crisis.
- The UN estimates that the current rainy season has displaced half a million people, but the floods are expected to ease as the season ends in June. A heavy storm in the autonomous region of Somaliland on 29 May resulted in flash floods that killed three and destroyed property.
- The floods have also led to an increase in opportunistic diseases such as diarrhoea and cholera. On 28 May, Somalia’s South West state’s health ministry reported 121 cases of acute diarhhoea and four deaths.
Triple combination spells political and security disaster
“[…]The impact of floods, locusts and COVID-19 is not simply humanitarian but has the potential to reverse some of the political and security gains that the international community has invested in over the past decade,” Justin Brady, head of Office for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Somalia said in early June.