“Communities that were already vulnerable due to past droughts are again facing severe hunger and water scarcity and are at risk from deadly communicable diseases.”
The UN aid complements efforts by governments of the three countries to assist their people, especially those with disabilities or who are internally displaced.
Somalia’s humanitarian fund is currently depleted. If financial aid is delayed, the cost of saving lives on the margin of death is much higher, Lowcock said, adding that the option then is to turn to expensive, therapeutic feeding programs.
“We could have a quick response now, which would be cheaper, reduce human suffering and more effective, or we can wait for a few months until we get all those horrible pictures on our TV screens and social media of starving kids,” Lowcock said.
Lowcock, who heads the UN Office for Humanitarian Affairs, said that in past decades droughts came about every half dozen years but recently they have hit every two or three years.
“There’s not really any question in my mind that these more frequent droughts are related to global warming and climate change,” the UN official said. “So the only middle- and longer-term response is to look at alternative livelihoods — a different way to make a living.”