The impact of climate change and conflict on mothers in Somalia

climate change and conflict on mothers

The impact of climate change and conflict on mothers in Somalia

The impact of climate change and conflict on mothers cannot be overstated. It is a confluence of two daunting challenges that have cast a long, terrible shadow over the lives of mothers in the dry expanse of Somalia, where resilience is not a choice but a necessity.


These women are the unsung heroes negotiating the perilous terrain of an environment changed by climate variability and a culture ravaged by conflict. They are frequently the silent pillars of strength within their families and communities. At the same time, Somalia struggles with a complicated web of war and insecurity, which makes it even harder to survive in this hostile environment. 


Many man-made conflicts are to blame for the devastating conditions currently prevailing in Somalia. All of these crises, drought, starvation, and gender-based violence are causing devastation in the nation and burdening lives, especially those of mothers. They are all caused by climate change and wars. However, Somalia’s share of global greenhouse gas emissions is less than 0.003%. 


According to UN predictions, the prolonged drought in Somalia will result in 4 children or 2 adults per 10,000 people dying each day. According to the World Health Organization, over 43,000 people will die in 2022 alone, and 18,000 more will pass away in the first half of 2023. Amounting to 1.5 million kids are undernourished as a result of the drought and food shortage.  


By the middle of 2023, it is anticipated that more than 500,000 children will have died because of the ongoing climate crisis and the parallel conflict being waged by the Somali military forces against Al-Shabab, the main terrorist organization in the nation. This will have a significant impact on mothers. 


Over 80% of the displaced individuals in the country because of the conflict against Al-Shabab are Somali mothers and their children. This internal displacement is getting worse due to climate change. At a time when Somalia appeared to be finally on the road toward stability following three decades of civil war, the nation has been overtaken by gloom and corruption. Somali women and girls are currently suffering the effects. 


How climate change and conflict impact mothers in Somalia 


Water and food shortages: Food and water shortages are a result of more frequent and severe droughts brought on by climate change. Mothers have the responsibility of making sure their children are properly fed as the primary caretakers in their households. In areas where there is conflict, finding food and water can be dangerous, putting women at more security risk. In Somalia, mothers go without food merely to provide for their families. 


Displacement and Insecurity: For many Somali families, displacement brought on by conflict is a common occurrence. In these difficult situations, which can involve lengthy journeys, subpar housing, and exposure to violence, mothers frequently shoulder the task of caring for children and older family members. Children, women, pregnant and nursing moms, the elderly, and people with chronic medical issues make up most of the displaced people.


Violence Against Women: Conflict-related insecurity can raise the risk of gender-based violence. In Somalia, mothers may be threatened with physical or sexual assault, and they frequently need to take action to safeguard their families. Due to their greater susceptibility to sexual harassment and assault, mothers and girls continue to be negatively impacted as Somalia’s population struggles in the face of war, climate change, and other conflicts.


In truth, there have been more complaints of rape, assault against women and girls, and gender-based violence in Mogadishu and other countrywide displacement camps. The UN noted an 80% rise in gender-based violence in Somalia in 2021. 


Healthcare Obstacles: Conflict zones have limited access to healthcare, and mothers frequently struggle to find sufficient medical treatment for both themself and their children. Health problems linked to the climate, like hunger and waterborne illnesses, put more burden on healthcare institutions. The hospitals are overflowing with distressed mothers and wailing kids. Even though they are aware that they won’t be able to help everyone, doctors are frantically trying to save the lives of many people. 


The tenacity and courage of Somali mothers are astounding in this difficult climate. In the face of difficulty, they frequently discover methods to adapt and defend their family. However, comprehensive actions are needed to address the effects of climate change and conflict on mothers in Somalia, including gender-sensitive policies, increased access to healthcare, and programs to increase women’s participation in decision-making. These actions are essential to easing the pressures Somali mothers bear and promoting a more just and secure future for their communities. 

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