The Executive Director of UNFPA, Natalie Kanem, after a two-day visit to the country, made her concerns known in a statement.
She said, ‘A catastrophe is unfolding in Somalia, but as is often the case, women and girls are paying an unacceptably high price’.
As a result of the famine in the country, the number of malnourished pregnant women has increased, most of them based in camps.
She further warned that the number of women having critical and life-threatening complications during births is also increasing.
She added that in the absence of qualified birth attendants and access to health services and facilities, the number of maternal and new-born deaths, which is already very high in Somalia, is likely to increase to devastating levels, especially for those in the IDP camps.
Kanem met with the Somali Prime Minister to discuss areas of collaboration between the country’s government and UNFPA.
‘The current crisis has far-reaching impacts on women and girls across the region. Unless we act now, thousands will die and countless more will face other dangers and rights violations, including rape and child marriage’, she said.
UNFPA Country Representative for Somalia, Niyi Ojuolape, said the UN agency was committed to providing critical and life-saving support to women and girls affected by the devastating drought.
Recent figures from CARE International indicate a 200 percent rise in GBV cases, particularly intimate partner violence and rape, compared to the same period in 2021.
The unprecedented drought in the region has left more than 7.8 million people in need of urgent humanitarian assistance in Somalia.
Conflict and security threats are worsening the effects of the extreme weather, pushing millions to the brink of starvation.
Photo source: UNICEF