UN chief visits camp for people displaced by severe drought in Somalia

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Women displaced by drought waiting to meet Secretary-General António Guterres during his visit to Baidoa, Somalia, where the focus was on famine and cholera. Photo: UN News/Laura Gelbert

A severe drought is currently placing Somalia on the brink of famine but "there is a chance to avoid the worse" the UN Secretary-General has warned.

Antonio Guterres visited the African country on Tuesday in an effort to shed light on the crisis in the country and to ask the global community to support the Somali people.

There are currently 6.2 million people in need of assistance in Somalia, almost half of the country's population.

Laura Gelbert Delgado reports.

UN chief Antonio Guterres visited a camp for internally displaced people in the town of Baidoa, in south-central Somalia, on Tuesday.

The Liiban settlement is hosting around 700 people forced to leave their rural villages because of the severity of the drought, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, OCHA.

Some of them walked for days in search of humanitarian assistance.

[Natural sound in the camp; wind blowing]

For over an hour, the Secretary-General walked around the camp, asking questions and listening to the stories of the men, women and children who had come to Baidoa looking for food and water.

Some had recently resettled to Somalia from the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya—only to be forced to move again because of the drought.

"[Secretary-General] Can you please tell me, in your village, everybody left? [Translator] He is saying that people are in a lot of different categories. He is saying there are people who can’t move, there are people who have got something at least to sustain their lives and there are people who can move and have nothing at all.”

Meanwhile, there's been an increase in the number of cholera cases in Somalia.

In the past two months, there were 7731 cases of cholera with 183 people dying.

The Secretary-General paid a visit to patients at the Bay Regional Hospital, where according to its director, 73 patients are being treated for cholera.

Twenty-four of them are under the age of five.

The UN and humanitarian partners are appealing for 825 million dollars for the support of 5.5 million people for six months.

Laura Gelbert, United Nations, Baidoa.

Duration: 1’44”


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