Food insecurity is rapidly deteriorating, increasing the risk of famine in Somalia

MOGADISHU (AXADLE) Water shortages, livestock deaths and soaring food prices exacerbated by ongoing conflicts and global supply shocks have caused a rapid deterioration in food security, according to a report released today jointly by the FAO Food Safety and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FENA) .

The report warned that Somalia faces a risk of famine (IPC phase 5) by mid-2022 if the coming Gu rainfall from April to June fails, purchasing power falls to record lows and food aid does not reach areas that gives rise to concern.

Timely humanitarian action prevented more extreme results during the last multi-season drought in 2017, but the humanitarian response plan for 2022 is drastically underfunded, risking a scenario with too little, too late for many Somali families. The report called for continued humanitarian assistance, along with improved humanitarian access to conflict-affected areas, to prevent loss of life and livelihoods and to avert the risk of famine (IPC Phase 5).

The severe and prolonged drought conditions have led to a significant deterioration in food security results for many rural Somalis in the first quarter of 2022. Up to 5 million people now need emergency humanitarian assistance, of which 1 million are likely already facing an emergency (IPC) phase) 4) in the most affected areas. In the same period, the number of displaced people has almost tripled from about 245,000 to almost 700,000 people moving to urban settlements and internally displaced camps in search of help, according to UNOCHA.

The joint FSNAU-FEWS NET report also warned that the upcoming Gu rains in April-June will also not be sufficient to break the drought, with a fourth consecutive rainy season below the average predicted in April-June 2022.

Prevention of famine requires urgent upscaling of aid

Previous trends show the potential for drought for several seasons could lead to famine in Somalia, such as in 2011-2012, when an estimated 260,000 people died of hunger-related causes. Timely humanitarian action can prevent such catastrophic results, but the humanitarian response plan for 2022 is still only 3.8% funded, and to prevent another famine, it requires an urgent upscaling of humanitarian aid.

“Unless we are empowered to act now, by a significant injection of resources we will begin to see irreversible loss of human life and collapse of livelihoods and increased rural displacement, as we have done in the not-so-distant past,” the FAO warned. Representative of Somalia, Etienne Peterschmitt. “The data is very clear. Our window to prevent the worst is closing quickly. If we can not reach the rural areas where they are in the coming months, the burden of collective responsibility for what must come, really be heavy. ” he said.

The UN, the government and humanitarian partners are stepping up their efforts to meet critical needs and avoid catastrophic consequences. But without further funding soon, the reaction will stall at the worst possible time.

“We are at an extremely critical time, I can not stress this enough. Many of us have been down this road before, we simply can not afford to let it happen again,” Peterschmitt said. “The human strain of our potential inaction in this regard is unacceptable.”

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