File photo shows camps for displaced people in Mogadishu, capital of Somalia. (Xinhua/Faisal Isse)
MOGADISHU, Feb. 28 (Xinhua) -- Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed on Tuesday declared drought, which has been ravaging the Horn of Africa nation, a national disaster.
The president, widely known as Farmajo, also appealed to the international community to urgently respond to the calamity in order to help families and individuals and avoid humanitarian tragedy.
"President Farmajo has declared a national disaster to deal with the humanitarian emergency in all areas affected by the current drought," said a statement issued in Mogadishu.
The statement came after the UN warned that Somalia is in the grip of an intense drought, induced by two consecutive seasons of poor rainfall.
In the worst-affected areas, inadequate rainfall and lack of water has wiped out crops and killed livestock, while communities are being forced to sell their assets and borrow food and money to survive.
The Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU) and the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET), managed by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), have found that over 6.2 million people, or more than half of the country's population, are in need of assistance, up from 5 million in September last year.
Farmajo also called on the Somali business community and diaspora to participate in the recovery efforts in the affected area, the statement said.