Dry weather and insufficient rainfall have led to severe water and food shortages across the nation, with worsening effects especially in central Somalia and areas bordering southeastern Ethiopia and northeastern Kenya.
With at least 12,000 who have been displaced, including men who have left their families in search of food, the United Nations estimates that some 2.5 million are in need of nutritional aid. Five people have also been reported to have perished as a result of the prolonged dry conditions.
Mark Bowden - Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, United Nations (M): Somalia looks as if it's going into another period of drought. The La Niña conditions that have been forecast in 2011 practically guarantee a hard dry season, which, again, given climate variability in Somalia may also be followed by flooding.
VOICE: In neighboring Kenya, more than 150,000 people have been declared vulnerable to starvation since crops failed and drought set in, while several children in Ethiopia have been admitted to the hospital due to severe malnutrition. Meanwhile, locals have been skipping a meal a day and struggling to pay for trucked water or seeking unsafe drinking water in shallow wells.
The situation in countries like Somalia is also often exacerbated because of certain regions where humanitarian aid organizations have been forbidden from operating.
Mark Bowden (M): The difficulties that we do face are in terms of getting food assistance to all the population in Somalia. We're trying to address that in Somalia by putting a greater emphasis on meeting health, water and sanitation needs as well as provide support for the nutritional needs of children.
VOICE: We are grateful for the efforts of Mr. Bowden and the United Nations to respond to the desperate needs of the Somali people. Our prayers that with Heaven's grace and humanity's choice of balanced living, such extreme situations will be eased for all beings on Earth.
In an October 2009 videoconference in Formosa (Taiwan), Supreme Master Ching Hai expressed her heartfelt concern for the drought-afflicted worldwide, urging for mitigating actions on everyone's part.