Spectre of Somalia hunger catastrophe returns

2014-05-07 14:43

(Shutterstock)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Video

MSF: Drought and conflict force Somalis to flee

2011-07-07 12:15

As severe drought strikes Somalia, thousands of families have fled across the border to the world's largest refugee camp in Dadaab, Kenya. Médecins Sans Frontières teams working in the camp have seen a huge rise in malnutrition rates, especially amongst young Somali children. WATCH

Nairobi - War-torn Somalia risks sliding back into acute crisis less than three years since a devastating famine, aid agencies warned onWednesday, amid failing rains, escalating conflict and aid funding shortfalls.

Over 50 000 severely malnourished children are at "death's door", said the warning issued by a coalition of 22 international and Somali aid agencies, with almost three million people in crisis and over one million forced from their homes.

"These statistics would be arresting in almost any other situation in the world," Ed Pomfret from Oxfam told reporters, noting it was the second rainy season to have failed.

"The problem with Somalia is that it has been a crisis for over 20 years... people more or less roll their eyes and think: 'pirates, terrorists, hunger and death, what can I do about that?'" he added.

"If we don't act now, we risk the current crisis becoming a catastrophe."

Somalia was the hardest hit by extreme drought in 2011 that affected over 13 million people across the Horn of Africa, with famine zones declared in large parts of the war-ravaged south.

Almost 260 000 people, half of them young children, died of hunger during the 2011-2012 famine, according to the United Nations, which admitted it had failed and should have done more to prevent the tragedy.

The United Nations has since said that warnings that began two years earlier had not triggered "sufficient early action."

 'Perfect storm' for crisis

"Today we have an early warning, with the ingredients of a perfect storm for a humanitarian crisis," said Andrew Lanyon, head of the Somalia Resilience Programme, a coalition of aid agencies.

"We need to move now from early warning to early action."

Seasonal rains crucial for farming and usually lasting from April to June are yet to start in key southern areas of Somalia, as well as in far northeastern regions.

"It is an alarming situation and people are losing hope," said Bashir Hashi from the Somali aid agency Wasda, which operates in some of the hardest hit southern regions, traditionally fertile areas and once the country's breadbasket.

However, farmers there are struggling to replant wilted crops, and herders are "slaughtering the small calves to save the big ones," Hashi said.

The southern regions of Middle and Lower Shabelle are the worst affected, frontline battle zones where African Union troops fighting alongside Somali government forces are battling Al-Qaeda linked Shebab insurgents.

Northeastern Puntland, forming the tip of the Horn of Africa, is also hard hit by hunger.

"What we learned from the famine is that all of us did not respond to the warnings in time," Pomfret added, adding that aid appeals are just 12 percent funded, with a shortfall of $822m.

While warning statistics today are better than those preceding the 2011 famine, Pomfret said the situation remained dire.

"Things are better than they were, but they are much, much worse than they should be," he said.

During 2011, most of the famine-hit areas were under the control of the Shabaab, and the crisis was exacerbated by their draconian ban on most foreign aid agencies.

While the Islamists still control vast swathes of the countryside, AU troops have since seized a string of towns from the gunmen.
Read more on:    un  |  oxfam  |  somalia  |  east africa
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
SPONSORED CONTENT
When is a mountain more than just a mountain? 2014-12-18 07:26

When it’s an adventure! A group of Old Mutual employees found out how much is enough courage, endurance and camaraderie to take on Africa's highest peak.

/Beauty
 

This is what South Africans Googled in 2014!

Find out who and what South Africans were most curious about in 2014!

 
 

I love summer.24

This hilarious song is your new holiday anthem
The world's least visited destination is breathtaking!
LOL treadmill fail!
Google’s top searches of 2014

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may be emotionally defensive or reserved today. You need to step up today as there may be extra responsibilities to deal with....read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.