Mogadishu [Somalia], July 5 (ANI/Xinhua): The United Nations humanitarian agency has warned about the rising hunger in Somalia following a historical fourth consecutive failed rainy season since 2020.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said more than 7 million people are already acutely food insecure. "The rapidly increasing humanitarian needs require a massive scale-up as partners transition from drought response to famine prevention," the UN agency said in its latest report on drought response and famine prevention released on Tuesday in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia.
It said the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) has for the first time since 2017, confirmed pockets of catastrophic food insecurity (Phase 5) affecting more than 213,000 people. It said humanitarian partners have ramped up health and nutrition interventions, among other forms of assistance, to people affected by drought but are limited by resources and access.
"At least 200 children have died of malnutrition and disease in stabilization centres across Somalia since January," the OCHA said, noting that disease outbreaks have spiked with over 5,830 suspected cholera cases reported from 24 drought-affected districts since January.
According to the UN agency, water levels on the Juba and Shabelle rivers have dropped to 30 per cent below the short-term average, leading to grave shortages of water for irrigation and other uses. And the migration by pastoralists and their livestock continues to increase as people compete for limited resources, potentially stoking social tensions.
It said while 3.9 million Somalis have received assistance, the response needs to be scaled up to save more lives. At a minimum, it said, the Drought Response and Famine Prevention Plan, which requires 993.3 million US dollars to target 6.4 million people until December, must be immediately and fully funded to prevent the worst outcomes.
The OCHA said immediate action is required to scale up and sustain humanitarian assistance, at least through the end of 2022, to prevent rising levels of acute food insecurity, mitigate the loss of life, and avert the risk of famine. (ANI/Xinhua)