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Somalia: on the brink of disaster

The current drought in the Horn of Africa is already affecting 10 million people. It has been described as the worst food crisis facing the world right now.

Successive droughts have left people without access to water and food. They have also killed livestock and led to a surge in food prices. People are travelling for weeks with no possessions in order to reach help in urban areas and neighbouring countries. 

Hunger and despair

Sarah Robinson, from Concern’s team in Somalia, warns:

People who have lost everything have arrived in Mogadishu for assistance, but for some it’s too late. A combination of hunger and despair mean that many people simply go to sleep and do not have the energy to wake up. 

Sarah added that this crisis has the potential to be as bad as anything since the major famine in 1991. That crisis killed an estimated 250,000 people and left two million displaced.

Funding needed

Paul O’Brien, Concern’s overseas director, warns that the current humanitarian response will be inadequate, as conflict is preventing agencies from reaching those affected. Where access is available, agencies like Concern need funds to provide life-saving assistance, but funding has been poor. He said:

The money available so far for humanitarian operations in the Horn of Africa is less than half of what is needed and we are asking for urgent assistance from the public and the international community to help tackle this dreadful emergency. 

Clean water and food

With 25 years experience in Somalia, Concern is one of the few international agencies currently working on the ground. We have been responding to this emergency since its onset in late 2010. At the moment, we’re reaching over 100,000 people with clean water, food and nutritional care. 

But, according to Sarah: 

The needs are spiraling every day. Many people have lost everything to this drought – their livestock, their food and their possessions. Now, they are at risk of losing their lives if timely assistance does not reach them. 

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