Somalia: $2.6 billion appeal to aid millions still on the brink of famine

New York, USA, 5 April 2023-/African Media Agency(AMA)/-The UN’s Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, Adam Abdelmoula, made a passionate appeal for sustained support for the country’s most vulnerable on Wednesday, where climate shocks and protracted conflict have created one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world.

“Somalia teetered on the brink of famine in recent months due to an historic drought characterized by five consecutive poor rainy seasons,” Mr. Abdelmoula said in Geneva. “The crisis is far from over – needs remain high and urgent. Some of the most affected areas continue to face the risk of famine.”

In March, seasonal rains led to flooding, and the deaths of 21 people, displacing over 100,000.

Due to high rainfall in the Ethiopian highlands, the Shabelle and Juba rivers could overflow, leading to flooded farmland, he warned.

However, rains in Somalia itself, are expected to underperform and are unlikely to be sufficient to improve the food security outlook for many.

That is what climate change does,” the Humanitarian Coordinator said. “It creates unpredictable cycles of drought and flooding. Somalia, which has done so little to contribute to the climate crisis, is truly bearing the brunt of it.” 

Lifesaving protection and aid

Nearly half of Somalia’s population – 8.25 million people – need lifesaving humanitarian and protection assistance. Of those, some 3.8 million are internally displaced.

Nearly five million people are experiencing high levels of acute food insecurity. Around 1.8 million children are severely malnourished, and eight million people lack access to adequate water, sanitation, and hygiene. Two-thirds of all people in drought-affected areas have no access to essential healthcare.

The crisis is exacerbated by conflict and insecurity. At least 660,000 people live in areas controlled by non-State armed actors and largely out of the reach of humanitarian assistance.

‘Real risk of complacency’

Generous donor support scaled up humanitarian assistance and better than expected seasonal rains have averted famine for now.

Still, 43,000 deaths over the anticipated mortality rate occurred due to drought-related causes in 2022. This year, the Humanitarian Response Plan requires $2.6 billion to assist 7.6 million people but is only 13 per cent funded as of today.

“There is a real risk of complacency due to the projection of famine being removed, including through inadequate or late funding,” said Mr. Abdelmoula. “Should that happen, we will lose all the gains made so far. I urge donors to frontload funding for Somalia. In addition, I ask for investments in durable solutions because this is equally a development crisis.”

Distributed by African Media Agency (AMA) on behalf oUN NEWS

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