By Mohammed Dhaysane
MOGADISHU, Somalia (AA) - At least six people -- mostly children -- have died due to a devastating drought in central Somalia, authorities said on Tuesday.
The victims died due to hunger, starvation, and thirst as the drought that hit the region of Mudug continues to worsen.
Ahmed Mohamed Shire, the deputy governor of Mudug, told reporters that all six were pastoralists who had lost most of their livestock "which were their source of livelihood," adding that they were also affected by disease and malnutrition.
Galkayo, the provincial capital of Mudug, has been the site of an influx of people fleeing the drought in the recent days.
Mohamed Abdulahi Osman, a pastoralist in the state of Galmudug, where Mudug is located, told Anadolu Agency over the phone that the drought had devastated many parts of the state, killing 35% of livestock, especially goats.
- Worst water shortage in 40 years
The Horn of African country had declared the situation a "national humanitarian state of emergency" and is currently battling what some aid agencies have described as the worst drought in 40 years.
Nearly 90% of the country faces severe water shortages that have left 3.5 million people in acute food insecurity, according to Oxfam international.
"Some areas facing their driest season in 40 years. Nearly 3.5 million people are already acutely food insecure and millions more are now at risk of going hungry by the beginning of next year," Oxfam said in a statement on Monday.
The statement also noted that "most natural water sources have dried up," raising the price of potable water up by over 170% in some regions.
"Persistent climate-fueled drought, compounded by ongoing conflict, locusts and COVID-19, has fueled hunger in Somalia and will leave 7.7 million people - nearly half the population - in urgent need of humanitarian assistance by 2022" it added.
Somalia already ranks highest in the world Global Hunger Index with over half its population suffering alarming levels of hunger and malnutrition.