Extended lack of rain has caused a sharp increase in food prices in the southern part of the country, affecting some 12,000 people near the city of Afmadow, with at least seven small towns and villages being recently abandoned.
In the central region of Mudug, severe drought has prompted an appeal by local leaders for urgent aid for more than 30,000 people who are in need of immediate assistance. The normally long rains from April to June, known as Gu rains, were insufficient this year, while the October to December rains known as the Deyr completely failed to arrive. In places where the water supplies have not already dried up, the little that is left is not suitable to drink.
These conditions have forced many villagers to leave their homes to search for food in cities, with relief feeding centers seeing an exceptionally high number of people asking for assistance.
To curb humanitarian tragedy and stop more people from becoming climate refugees, the United Nations World Food Programme has appealed for donors to provide tons of food, while local non-governmental organizations have been working to deliver water to the worst-affected areas.
Our appreciation, leaders, UN World Food Programme, local agencies, and all those working to assist the drought-afflicted. We pray that the Somali people may soon be blessed with revitalizing rains as humanity strives restore the Earth through sustaining and eco-stabilizing lifestyles.
Speaking with concern during a May 2009 videoconference in Togo, Supreme Master Ching Hai emphasized the elimination of livestock-raising as the most effective way to reverse the drought crises in Africa and conserve global water resources.