The number of people displaced by the current drought in Somalia doubled in January from 245,000 to 554,500, the UN indicated on Friday.
Most of the displaced people have fled from the Galgadud, Mudug, and Bay regions, according to an infographic by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
According to an accompanying statement, 4.3 million people have been affected by the drought, demanding sustained urgent humanitarian assistance.
"Drought has deepened in Somalia with more than 4.3 million people affected, up from 3.2 million in December 2021," said the statement.
Severe water shortages have been reported in 66 out of 74 districts in the Horn of Africa country, leading to increased water prices and a heightened risk of diseases, according to the UN.
"Crop failure has been reported in the central regions, with below-season production in the south and northwestern regions, resulting in the third lowest deyr harvest (between October and December) since 1995 in southern Somalia," the statement added.
Due to the combined effects of poor rains and insecurity, the UN said, about 4.1 million people need urgent food assistance.
Resource-based conflicts over water and pasture, along with risks of gender abuse, are also on the rise during the drought, according to the UN humanitarian relief agency.
"Humanitarian partners have reached about 856,000 people with assistance, but additional funding for priority sectors is urgently required to save lives and livelihoods, including substantive and early funding for the 2022 Humanitarian Response Plan," OCHA said.
Somalia's Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble last year said the drought represented a " state of humanitarian emergency."
Local authorities have told Anadolu Agency that at least 16 people, including women and children, have died due to the drought, lack of food and water, and climate change-related diseases linked to drought conditions, so far.
The drought has also claimed the lives of over half of a million livestock, destroying the source of income for thousands of families.