Somalia – Fears of Full Famine – Desperate Needs – Severe Humanitarian Crisis
Date: March 10, 2017
A malnourished and dehydrated child lies on a bed in Banadir Hospital in the Somali capital Mogadishu. Somalia is currently gripped by a devastating drought and famine that has already killed tens of thousands and leaving many hundreds of thousands more, particularly young children and babies, in desperate need of emergency life-saving humanitarian assistance from the outside world. Image: UN Photo/Stuart Price
By Lys Anzia – WNN – March 7, 2017
(WNN) MOGADISHU, SOMALIA: Somalia’s President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed has issued a crisis announcement this week asking for a step up in international aid in the face of a national food and hunger disaster following an extended drought affecting the eastern Horn of Africa. Shortages of rainfall in the region from 2015 into 2017 are expected to expand harsh conditions of full famine affecting millions, say experts.
“Conflict, drought, disease and environmental degradation are the major drivers of humanitarian crises in Somalia, where the majority of the population relies on subsistence farming and pastoralism for their livelihoods,” says UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO).
Recent counts of 110 deaths over the past weeks due to hunger and malnutrition are placing the region in a ‘deteriorating condition’ outlines ReliefWeb, the humanitarian reporting wing of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) on March 7, 2017.
Loss of life due to food shortages has predominately affected pregnant and lactating women and their children, as well as the elderly population, living in the south-central Bay, Bakool, Sool and Sanag pastoralist regions of Somalia.
One of numerous tweets by United Nations Secretary General António Guterres on March 6, 2017 talks about the current food and malnutrition crisis in Somalia.
The rising insecurity inside Somalia is due to numerous factors, say the experts, including rapidly increasing food costs, ongoing depletion of grain crop viability and depletion of livestock under drought conditions.
“The humanitarian situation is rapidly deteriorating and famine is possible in 2017. Half of the population-6.2 million people–are now facing acute food insecurity, up from five million people in September 2016. Of these, nearly 3 million need urgent life-saving assistance, another drastic increase from 1.1 million six months ago,” outlines OCHA’s most recent Humanitarian Bulletin on Somalia.
Increasing drought and/or flooding has also contributed greatly to the rising tide of migrants leaving Somalia. In 2009 up to 300,000 Somalis left their homes for Dadaab camp in northeastern Kenya due to conflict in the region as well as climate change.
“Was in epicentre of famine & cholera in Somalia. I listened to harrowing stories of suffering & saw the courage of ppl. World must act now,” outlined the UN Secretary General António Guterres as one of numerous tweets he posted on Twitter with an urgent personal appeal for action today.
Famine and the fear of famine due to climate change impacts is predicted now to be the driving force in Somalia for increased migration into 2017.
“Eight months ago, the water and pasture started diminishing in our area. Before that we had large grazing land between Mahas and Beletweyne” said the 18-year-old wife of a livestock farmer Sahra Abdi Mohamed to UNICEF staff who had traveled to the city of Beletweyene in central Somalia in February 2017.
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