Al-Shabaab militants Flee key town as Somali army Advances
"Somalia… is on the brink of a much larger disaster due to the threat of a country-wide drought," UN Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos said in New York on Thursday, AFP reported.
She went on to say that the drought will lead to severe shortages of water and food in a nation where malnutrition and food shortages are already rampant.
"Families are set to start selling their assets, including their houses and land to get by… 32 percent of the population remains in crisis," she told reporters at a press conference after returning from a trip to Somalia and Kenya.
"I cannot stress enough the importance in Somalia of finding a political solution. Only that would enable people to live in peace and dignity," she added.
Somalia has not had a functioning government since 1991, when warlords overthrew former dictator Mohamed Siad Barre.
Over the past two decades, up to one million people have lost their lives in the fighting between rival factions and due to famine and disease.
There are more than 1.4 million internally displaced people (IDPs) in Somalia. More than 300,000 IDPs are sheltering in Mogadishu alone.
Most of the displaced live in poor and degrading conditions on makeshift sites in southern and central Somalia, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
Sources say that the United States and Turkish forces based in the capital Mogadishu have bombed Al-Shabaab's defensive bases from the air, which forced the militants to flee.