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Somalia facing 'triple threat' of coronavirus, floods, and locusts, UN warns

Somalia was one of the last nations in Africa to have Covid-19 testing capacity [Getty]

Date of publication: 3 June, 2020

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The UN has warned that Somalia's political and security gains could be reversed.
Somalia's stability is coming undone by a "triple threat" of coronavirus, swarms of desert locusts, and devastating floods, the UN's emergency response body said.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Somalia warned that the situation could reverse political and security gains made in recent years.

"Somalia's coping mechanisms are significantly less than those of the neighbouring countries. Therefore, the impact [of floods, locusts and Covid-19] is not simply humanitarian but has the potential to reverse some of the political and security gains that the international community has invested in over the past decade," said Justin Brady, OCHA Somalia's head of office.

"We need to continue to work together and expand the coordination with the private sector, civil society and have more engagement with the diaspora."

Recent floods have displaced some 500,000 people in the country's interior, at a time when a severe locust infestation is threatening food supplies.

Read more: Years of conflict leave Somalia ill-equipped to fight coronavirus amid rising cases

Brady called for an "all hands on deck approach to avert the worst", warning that Somalia's structural weaknesses make it significantly more vulnerable than other East African countries to the coronavirus pandemic.

In Somalia, restrictions on flights and the difficulties of travelling in a country threatened by the Al-Qaeda-linked Al-Shabab group have left large regions without easy access to basic aid - let alone intensive care facilities, vital for treating Covid-19.

Somalia was one of the last nations in Africa to have the capacity to test for the virus, having recorded a total of 2,089 cases and 79 deaths.


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