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Horn of Africa

More than 444,000 people were displaced directly or indirectly in relation to drought in Somalia between 1 November 2016 and 24 March 2017. More than 187,000 people were displaced between 1 and 24 March. The largest movements were to Baidoa in Bay region (more than 82,000 people), Mogadishu (more than 79,000) and Gaalkacyo (as many as 24,000) (UNHCR, 24 March 2017; UNHCR, 24 March 2017). More than 4,000 people, mostly women and children from Bay, Gedo and Middle Juba regions, crossed into Ethiopia in early 2017 because of drought (OCHA, 31 March 2017). Somali families told “harrowing stories of abandoning their weak cattle, of being forced to leave their homes to search for food and water”. A mother of ten from Gedo province said: “I lost ten goats. One day they just started falling and dying. I decided to move away, as I feared that my children would start falling and dying too” (Norwegian Refugee Council, 29 March 2017).

More than 20,000 people were displaced by drought in Garissa and Turkana counties in Kenya between 1 January and 31 March. Another 5,000 people fled violence relating to cattle rustling in Baringo county during the same period, and more than 30,000 Kenyans with their cattle migrated to Uganda in search of water and grazing pastures. One hundred people who had received UNHCR support to return to Somalia arrived in Kenya’s Dadaab camp in March (OCHA, 31 March 2017).

In South Sudan, conflict and drought contributed to displacement. “Spreading violence first led people to abandon their homes and villages, but sustained hunger with little hope of harvests to ease their suffering sent them on the long, risky walks to safety far away.” Nyawich Bangot, who fled Unity state, said: “There were so many random killings: men were killed randomly, even children were killed randomly. Our houses with our food stored inside were all destroyed, food we grew with our own hands to keep us going during the hard times” (UNHCR, 10 April 2017).