Famine Looms in Somalia
Due to severe drought and food scarcity, hunger killed at least 110 people in the past 48 hours, putting millions at risk of starvation.
CNN reports say most of those who died were women and children from the rural areas of Somalia’s southwestern Bay region where the drought is more severe than other parts of the country.
The announcement of the death toll was made by Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire during a meeting with the drought committee in Mogadishu.
Somalia was one of four regions cited by the U.N. secretary-general last month in a $4.4 billion aid appeal to response to catastrophic hunger and famine, along with northeast Nigeria, South Sudan and Yemen.
Drought Threatens The Lives Of Millions of Somalis
As drought continues to make life miserable for more than 6.2 million people, fear of food insecurity may worsen the crisis. Famine may strike again.
The United Nations’ humanitarian coordinator for Somalia, Peter de Clercq, warned the drought could lead to famine. UNICEF lists Somalia among four nations where they say a total of 1.4 million children could die of severe acute malnutrition as famine looms.
With this worst case scenario, Peter de Clercq called for immediate response to the crisis.
“If we do not scale up the drought response immediately, it will cost lives, further destroy livelihoods, and could undermine the pursuit of key state-building and peace-building initiatives,” said Peter de Clercq.
The United Nations estimates that 5 million people in this Horn of Africa nation need aid, amid warnings of a full-blown famine. The UN has appealed for $864 million to provide assistance to 3.9 million people.
Cause of Drought
The UN blames the severe drought on fewer seasons of rainfall that resulted in low agricultural production.
United Nations said, “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.”
Similar conditions were already reported in South Sudan.