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07-06-2022 | Edited News

Bi-Weekly Press Briefing: Somalia Drought Emergency FAO - WFP- UNICEF

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  1. Exterior medium shot, Palais des Nations flag alley, a sunny day.
  2. Medium shot, participants working on laptop in foreground, TV screen showing external speaker to rear.
  3. SOUNDBITE (English) — El-Khidir Daloum, WFP Country Director in Somalia: “We are in the worst situation of the last four decades. And we have four consecutive failures of rains and we're expecting the fifth on the way.”
  4. Medium shot, participants working on laptop in foreground, TV screen showing external speaker to rear.
  5. SOUNDBITE (English) — Etienne Peterschmitt, FAO Representative in Somalia: “It is a perfect storm for famine if action is not taken now. The latest food security analyzes now shows that 7.1 million people or 45% of the country are in the IPC phase three or crisis; or worse, food security outcomes. Families in the most affected areas do not have enough to eat and are using now crisis coping strategy to stave off hunger.”
  6. Medium shot, cameraperson adjusting the lens of the camera.
  7. SOUNDBITE (English) — Etienne Peterschmitt, FAO Representative in Somalia: “Out of this 7.1 million, around 2.1 million people are in IPC phase four or emergency, signified by the very high acute malnutrition and rising levels of mortality among children and adults.”
  8. Medium shot, seated participants following the press conference in foreground, TV screen showing external speaker to rear.
  9. SOUNDBITE (English) — Etienne Peterschmitt, FAO Representative in Somalia: “Local food and water prices continue to rise due to the lower agricultural productivity and poor water availability, making staple food items out of reach of everyday Somalis. And rising global prices have put further upward pressure on the prices of imported goods that usually account for the bulk of the domestic gap in food availability.”
  10. Medium shot, shot from the back of two participants following the press conference in foreground, TV screen showing external speaker to rear.
  11. SOUNDBITE (English) — El-Khidir Daloum, WFP Country Director in Somalia: “It is not too late to avoid famine. Lives and livelihoods can still be saved. But we need to act immediately. Time has nearly run out.”
  12. Close-up, moderator’s face in foreground and on screen to rear, alongside Rania Dagash, UNICEF Deputy regional director for eastern & southern Africa.
  13. SOUNDBITE (English) — Rania Dagash, UNICEF Deputy regional director for eastern & southern Africa: “If the world does not widen its gaze from the war in Ukraine and act immediately, an explosion of child death is about to happen in the Horn of Africa. We have an estimated 386,000 children in Somalia who are in desperate need of treatment for life-threatening severe acute malnutrition.”
  14. Close-up, fingers of a participant typing on laptops.
  15. SOUNDBITE (English) — Rania Dagash, UNICEF Deputy regional director for eastern & southern Africa: “The number of children facing the most deadliest form of malnutrition has increased by more than 15% in about a few months. Just in the last few months, as it has reiterated as well. Across Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia, we have 1.7 million children who are in need of this urgent treatment for severe acute malnutrition.”
  16. Medium shot, seated participants listening carefully and taking notes.
  17. SOUNDBITE (English) — Rania Dagash, UNICEF Deputy regional director for eastern & southern Africa: “The death rates are also concerning for us this year in some of the worst affected areas. In the Horn, three times as many children have already died from severe acute malnutrition, with medical complications in inpatient treatment centers compared to the whole of the previous year.”
  18. Close-up, a participant holding his glasses and thinking.
  19. SOUNDBITE (English) — Rania Dagash, UNICEF Deputy regional director for eastern & southern Africa: “Somalia alone used to import 92 per cent of its wheat from Russia and Ukraine, but supply lines are now blocked, and the war is exacerbating spiraling global food and fuel prices, meaning that many in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia can no longer afford the basic food stuffs they need to survive.”
  20. Close-up, a participant bending her hair while listening carefully.
  21. SOUNDBITE (English) — Rania Dagash, UNICEF Deputy regional director for eastern & southern Africa: “I compared the number of children who are currently severely acutely malnourished to 2011, when we had a famine. Today we are at 386,000. In 2011 we were at 340,000. So, we are already higher without even getting to famine.”
  22. Wide shot, moderator sitting in the middle in front of the backdrop of UN logo, press conference room, UN Geneva.
  23. Medium shot, participant wearing headphones in foreground, other participants to rear.
  24. Medium shot, shot from the back of two participants in the foreground, typing and listening; participant wearing headphones in background.

A fourth consecutive failed rainy season, skyrocketing prices and an underfunded humanitarian response have resulted in a 160 percent increase in people facing catastrophic levels of starvation and disease in Somalia.

Speaking today to a news briefing at the United Nations in Geneva, El-Khidir Daloum, Country Director of the World Food Programme (WFP) in Somalia, said that “we are in the worst situation of the last four decades. And we have four consecutive failures of rains and we're expecting the fifth on the way.”

A new report based on a rapid assessment by multiple United Nations agencies shows that close to 50 percent of the population now face crisis-level food insecurity. An urgent increase in funding from the international community is essential to avert famine.

“It is a perfect storm for famine if action is not taken now”, said Etienne Peterschmitt, Representative of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Somalia. “The latest food security analyzes now shows that 7.1 million people, or 45% of the country. are in the IPC phase three or crisis; or worse, food security outcomes. Families in the most affected areas do not have enough to eat and are using now crisis coping strategy to stave off hunger”.

FAO’s Peterschmitt added that “out of this 7.1 million, around 2.1 million people are in IPC phase four or emergency, signified by the very high acute malnutrition and rising levels of mortality among children and adults.”

The south of the country is particularly at risk of famine, where insecurity and conflict make humanitarian access more challenging.

Somali families are to cope with soaring food prices as local food has become scare due to consecutive seasons of poor or failed domestic production, livestock deaths and imported food prices reaching record levels.

 “Local food and water prices continue to rise due to the lower agricultural productivity and poor water availability, making staple food items out of reach of everyday Somalis”, explained Mr. Peterschmitt. And rising global prices have put further upward pressure on the prices of imported goods that usually account for the bulk of the domestic gap in food availability.”

Humanitarian agencies have reached 2,8 million people between January and April 2022 with lifesaving and livelihood assistance, but the new assessment clearly indicates that funding from the international community is not yet sufficient to protect those most at risk.  

The World Food Programme (WFP) is scaling up its response as much as possible and prioritising their limited resources to those most in need.

Its country director in Somalia, Mr. El-Khidir Daloum, said that it is not too late to avoid famine. Lives and livelihoods can still be saved. But we need to act immediately. Time has nearly run out.”

Particularly dramatic is the situation for Somalia’s children. Some 1.5 million children face acute malnutrition through the end of the year, and of these now 386,000 face severe acute malnutrition and are at increased risk of death.

If the world does not widen its gaze from the war in Ukraine and act immediately, an explosion of child death is about to happen in the Horn of Africa”, said Rania Dagash, UNICEF Deputy regional director for eastern & southern Africa. “We have an estimated 386,000 children in Somalia who are in desperate need of treatment for life-threatening severe acute malnutrition,”

Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya have recorded a significantly higher number of severely malnourished children admitted for treatment I the first quarter of 2022 compared to the first quarter of 2021.

According to Rania Dagash, UNICEF Deputy regional director for eastern & southern Africa, “the number of children facing the most deadliest form of malnutrition has increased by more than 15% in about a few months. Just in the last few months, across Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia, we have 1.7 million children who are in need of this urgent treatment for severe acute malnutrition”.

Ms. Rania Dagash added that “the death rates are also concerning for us this year in some of the worst affected areas. In the Horn, three times as many children have already died from severe acute malnutrition, with medical complications in inpatient treatment centers compared to the whole of the previous year.”

The war in Ukraine has also been impacting the lives of children in the Horn of Africa.

Somalia alone used to import 92 per cent of its wheat from Russia and Ukraine, but supply lines are now blocked, and the war is exacerbating spiraling global food and fuel prices, meaning that many in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia can no longer afford the basic food stuffs they need to survive”, said UNICEF’s Rania Dagash.

The Somalia famine of 2011 was the first instance of actual famine in nearly a decade, and by far the worst famine of the 21st Century. It has developed as the result of a major drought, rapid food price inflation and conflict.

I compared the number of children who are currently severely acutely malnourished to 2011, when we had a famine”, said UNICEF’s Rania Dagash. “Today we are at 386,000. In 2011 we were at 340,000. So, we are already higher without even getting to famine.” Rania Dagash, UNICEF Deputy regional director for eastern & southern Africa

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