Somali Prime Minister Hassan Abdi Barre reaffirmed that Somalia is one of the greatest victims of climate change despite contributing the least to global carbon emissions.
Speaking at the 78th UN General Assembly on Saturday, Barre highlighted that Somalia has experienced a devastating cycle of prolonged droughts and destructive floods in recent years, resulting in the loss of thousands of lives and the displacement of millions.
Somalia’s contribution to greenhouse gas emissions is only 0.03%, yet its people suffer significantly from the consequences of the climate crisis.
“It’s unfair that Somalia bears the brunt of the negative impacts of climate change,”
Prime Minister Barre called on the international community to support Somalia in addressing this urgent issue and strengthening its resilience in climate change.
This year, floods forced nearly a quarter of a million people to flee their homes when the Shabelle River in the Hiiraan region overflowed its banks, submerging the town of Beledweyne. This disaster occurred as the country grappled with its most severe drought in four decades.
Humanitarian agencies have warned that the climate crisis is a major driver of emergencies, disproportionately affecting those who are least responsible for CO2 emissions.
Since mid-March, the floods have affected over 460,000 people nationwide and killed 22 lives, according to the UN Humanitarian Office (OCHA). In Beledweyne alone, the floods displaced 245,000 people, as the Somali Disaster Management Agency reported.
“Climate change poses an existential threat to humanity, transcending borders and requiring unified global efforts. Extreme climate events, rising temperatures, and devastating forest fires serve as stark reminders of the consequences of our collective inaction,” Barre emphasized to world leaders.
The Prime Minister’s appeal to the international community coincided with a warning from the Somali Ministry of Environment and Climate Change about the likelihood of El Nino occurring in the southern part of the country due to the anticipated rainy season in the coming weeks.
The IGAD Climate Prediction and Applications Centre (ICPAC) forecast for October to December 2023 indicates a high probability of wetter-than-usual conditions across most parts of the Greater Horn of Africa.
The ongoing drought has left nearly 32 million people in desperate need of humanitarian assistance across the Horn of Africa. According to the United Nations humanitarian agency, the number of people affected by the severe drought in various parts of Somalia has risen to 7.8 million as of August.