STORY: Somalia Update – Food security FAO-WFP
TRT: 2 min 17s
SOURCE: UNTV CH
ASPECT RATIO: 16:9
DATELINE: 20 December 2022 GENEVA, SWITZERLAND
After a historic drought triggered by five consecutive poor rainy seasons, skyrocketing food prices and an intensifying conflict, Somalia has been lingering on the brink of famine.
Although famine has officially not yet been declared, the latest Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) which describes the severity of food emergencies has drawn a grim picture.
“The IPC Report found out about 6.4 million Somalis are facing acute food insecurity in the coming months”, said Etienne Peterschmitt, the Somalia Representative for the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) when talking to media at the United Nations in Geneva. “That number could increase to 8.3 million people by April next year, and the number of Somalis facing catastrophic food insecurity, or famine conditions, could increase to over 700,000 people by June 2023”.
According to FAO, humanitarian assistance needs to be both scaled up and sustained to prevent famine in Somalia. The prolonged drought conditions have left pastoral, agropastoral and farming communities unable to cope and as their livelihoods collapse, many are leaving their homes and moving to already crowded displacement camps in towns to seek humanitarian assistance.
“While the situation remains dire, there is still time to turn the tide by addressing the immediate needs of rural communities who are among those who are at greatest risk from a food security but also nutrition, health as well as water and sanitation perspective”, noted FAO’s Mr. Peterschmitt.
The affected rural communities require urgent assistance between now and June 2023, with famine projected in three areas if assistance doesn’t reach the most vulnerable. Approximately 1.8 million children are of particular concern, including over 500,000 of them who are likely to be severely malnourished till July 2023.
“Earlier projections of famine have so far been averted because funding to humanitarian assistance has covered a sufficient portion of the most basic needs for a few months at a time, keeping Famine thresholds at bay – at least for now,” stressed Mr. Peterschmitt.
The generous funding has also allowed the World Food Programme (WFP) stepping up to deliver life-saving food and nutrition close to 5 million people in November.
“The longest drought in over 40 years is still ongoing, with no end in sight”, said El-Khidir Daloum, WFP’s Somalia Country Director. “It is still destroying lives and it is still killing people. On the ground, we see the impacts every day. We hear from the people whose children have died on the journey after leaving their homes in search of assistance.”
WFP stresses that significant investment in resilience programmes that combine nutrition, education, livelihoods, and long-term food security support are needed as the way forward. Even if the worst outcomes of this drought could be kept at bay, the next drought could come back again, warned WFP’s Somalia Country Director.
”We must also continue to invest in recovery and in long-term, sustainable solutions, under the leadership of the Government of Somalia, to protect Somalis against future climate shocks. The current drought it is unusually long but it is not an isolated incident in a country on the front lines of the climate change.”