The UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi has called on global leaders to spare no efforts in helping countries in the Horn of Africa to break the cycle of conflict and climate crises.
Grandi, who on Tuesday concluded a five-day visit to Somalia and Kenya, said despite urgent calls from humanitarian agencies active in Somalia, the catastrophic and multifaceted consequences are largely unnoticed as the world’s attention remains elsewhere.
“We have secured funds to cover just a small percentage of the people in need,” Grandi said in a statement issued on Tuesday night in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.
Grandi who met with Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud reaffirmed UNHCR’s commitment to supporting the country to pursue solutions for those who have been displaced.
He noted that many people have been forced to flee as people try to avert famine and seek safety. According to the UNHCR-led Protection and Return Monitoring Network in Somalia, the number of people displaced internally primarily by drought this year alone is nearing one million, with nearly 500,000 others displaced due to conflict and insecurity.
According to UNHCR, many who have already been forced to flee violence have been displaced yet again by the worst drought in 40 years, due to four failed rainy seasons, with a fifth predicted.
Grandi said he met families in the central Somali town of Galkayo, who had trekked for days to reach displacement sites, and heard of the heart-breaking choices they are making for survival, such as leaving behind loved ones or selling their assets to feed their children.
“These families are the least responsible for global warming, yet they are being hit the hardest. It is tragic and it is shameful, and the world should not look away,” he said.
In Kenya, Grandi visited refugees in Dadaab and Kakuma, meeting with local and county authorities, host community members and partners. In Dadaab in northeast Kenya where Somali refugees have been living in camps for more than 30 years, Grandi saw first-hand how the drought is impacting the displaced.
He said more than 50,000 Somali refugees who have arrived in recent years are in dire need of support. Some 20,000, Grandi said, have arrived in Kenya this year alone. Kenya has been hosting refugees from across the region for more than three decades and currently hosts over half a million refugees and asylum-seekers.