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Urgent support needed in Somalia where famine is imminent
Concern Worldwide is calling for urgent support as it works to avert a major humanitarian crisis in Somalia where the UN has today issued a “final warning” that famine is imminent.
The Irish aid organisation is making its appeal following a statement by the UN’s humanitarian chief, Martin Griffiths, who said “famine is at the door” in Somalia where children are already dying from malnutrition in a region suffering its worst drought in 40 years.
He said that famine would occur in two areas of the country in the Bay region (Baidoa and Burhakaba districts) in South-Central Somalia between this October and December and that these conditions are likely to last through to at least March 2023.
“This is a final warning to all of us,” said Mr Griffiths, the UN’s Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator.
He said the “unprecedented failure of four consecutive rainy seasons, decades of conflict, mass displacement, severe economic issues are pushing many people to that brink of famine.”
Concern had already scaled up its efforts across the Horn of Africa (which includes Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia) providing emergency food, cash and water to communities in urgent need. However, it is today appealing for world leaders to act now to avert famine.
“Famine means failure. It means the world didn’t prevent it despite all the warnings,” said Concern Worldwide Chief Executive, Dominic MacSorley.
“Nobody should suffer or die from hunger. The time to sit up and listen to these warnings is now
“It is not too late for the millions of people who need our support today, many of them innocent children who deserve a chance at a good and healthy life.
“Over 250,000 people died in the last famine in Somalia in 2011 and at least half of them were children, many of them dying before the official declaration.
“Tragically, at least 500 malnourished children who came to centres for treatment since January this year have died. It is also sobering that half of all children in Somalia (3.6 million) are malnourished. They need our help and we will do all we can for them.”
The Horn of Africa drought has left water wells and rivers dried up. Somalia has experienced four consecutive failed rainy seasons and there are forecasts that the upcoming rains due in October will also be below average.
Over 22 million people are facing what has been described as an avoidable hunger crisis across Somalia and the Horn of Africa.
This is despite repeated warnings from local authorities, governments, UN agencies and NGOs for over a year about drought and rising hunger levels.
“We need immediate and safe access to all people in need across Somalia and the wider region,” said Concern’s Regional Director for the Horn of Africa, Amina Abdulla.
“I witnessed the drought that killed so many in the Horn of Africa in 2011, but what I am seeing now is far worse.
“Hundreds of thousands of people are moving from their homes in search of water, food and healthcare because all the water sources around them have dried up.
“We are very grateful for all the resources we have received so far to support people affected by this catastrophic drought and the many crises it has caused, but we need more.
“We hope Somalia and its neighbouring countries get the urgent assistance they need and that efforts are made to rebuild and prevent further humanitarian disasters.”
To support Concern’s work visit www.concern.net.
For more information, please contact Kevin Jenkinson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Famine is a technical definition based on specific thresholds: that at least 20% of the population is affected, with about one out of three children being acutely malnourished and two people dying per day for every 10,000 inhabitants due to outright starvation or to the interaction of malnutrition and disease.
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