$1bn more needed to avert famine in Somalia by year’s end, warns UN
At least US$1 billion will be needed urgently to avert famine in Somalia in the coming months and early next year, the UN humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths predicted on Tuesday (6 September).
Speaking from Somalia’s capital Mogadishu, he said that, according to a new report from an authoritative panel of independent experts, there will be a famine in the Horn of Africa nation between October and December, when two more dry seasons are expected to compound the historic drought that has hit region, “if we don’t manage to stave it off and avoid it as had been the case in 2016 and 2017.” Griffiths added that more than $1 billion in new funds is now needed in addition to the UN appeal of about $1.4 billion. That appeal has been “very well-funded,” the undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs said, thanks to the US Agency for International Development, which announced a $476 million donation of humanitarian and development aid in July.
“Famine is at the door and today we are receiving a final warning,” Griffiths warned, referring to the report by the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC), a tracking tool for global hunger. Somalia has been pushed to the brink by the unprecedented failure of four consecutive rainy seasons, which has forced several hundred thousand people from their homes and placed huge pressure on a country already weakened by decades of conflict. Griffiths compared the crisis to that of 2010-11, when famine claimed nearly 260,000 lives, half of them children. By the time the hunger and malnutrition levels had been officially recognized as a famine, prompting a scaling-up of aid, it is thought that more than 100,000 people had already died.