UN agencies warn against possible famine in Somalia


The number of people in need of food aid have reached doubled in 6 months severe drought hit Somalia, United Nations said Thursday.

Food and Agriculture Office (FAO) said that a severe drought has gripped most parts of Somalia leading more than 6 million people to face daily hunger.

Dick Trenchard, FAO Representative in Somalia warned that thousands will die from lack of food unless something is done urgently to scale up humanitarian assistance and avert famine in the war-torn country facing drought.

“The warning could not be clearer and it could not be more stark. What worries most is the projected speed of deterioration, the scale – in terms of number of people at risk, the geography and the very real risk of a significant worsening,” Trenchard said.

The looming famine might occur in the second half of 2017, Trenchard warned.

“Mitigation will reduce the scale of potential crisis. Urgent support in nutrition, health support, food supply and sanitation will reduce the depth of crisis. And vital life-saving support will keep those facing famine and death alive,” he added.

The report called on donor nations to step in to avert the looming famine in Somalia.

On the other hand, the UN Office for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) coordinator for Somalia, Peter de Clercq has  warned in a statement issued earlier Thursday that unless a massive and urgent scale up of humanitarian assistance takes place in the coming weeks, famine could soon hit some of the worst drought-affected areas in the Horn of African country.

Acute malnutrition levels remain high with 363,000 malnourished children under the age of five; including 71,000 who are severely malnourished and face increased risk of morbidity and death, he noted.

Last December, Clercq said the 2016 Humanitarian Response Plan seeking 885 million U.S. dollars is only 47 percent funded four weeks before the end of the year while worsening drought conditions have left hundreds of thousands of Somalis facing severe food and water shortages.

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