Out of Somalia's nearly 17 million people, more than six million of them are hit hard by a growing drought. And with little or no rain, food crops are increasingly difficult to grow.
That's the grim news from Somalia's special envoy for humanitarian affairs. Abdurahman Abdishakur Warsameh said the drought has hit 72 of Somalia’s 84 districts and that six of them were already facing famine-like conditions with extreme food insecurity.
Warmseh sadly noted that deaths from famine have begun as the drought continues to cut crops.
The special envoy did not give any figures on how many Somalis have died from hunger but appealed for aid to reach those in need.
Somali's drought is the worst seen in four decades, and meteorological experts say this fifth "rainy season" is forecast to again be unusually dry.
The lack of food and income from farming has uprooted some 700,000 people from rural areas and forced them to pack into cites and refugee camps, some run by outside charities and international NGOs.
As for Mogadishu's moves to address the situation, Warsameh said not much attention is given to humanitarian needs because of Somali's focus on politics during the last 18 months over delayed elections. The ongoing Islamist insurgency also makes getting relief into dry, hungry areas a dangerous challenge.
Warsameh said that making the situation even more dire is a lack of outside funding. He reported that the U.N. and aid agencies requested $1.4 billion for drought relief but so far received only $58 million.
International aid groups Warned on May 30 that Somalia's drought anbd hunger is spreading into neighboring countries such as Ethiopia and Kenya.
Observers say the COVID pandemic has drawn away funds and attention, and to make matters worse, the Russian conflict in Ukraine has halted grain shipments from the Black Sea region.
Meanwhile, the rains never come. And children cry from hunger.