UN warns two million people in Somalia at risk of starvation

The United Nations is warning some two million people in Somalia are at risk of starvation, amid the country’s worst drought since 2011, and is calling for more support from the international community.

Speaking at the end of a two-day visit to the country, UN Under-Secretary-General Mark Lowcock said decades of conflict and a lack of investment had undermined Somalia’s ability to cope with repeated humanitarian crises, even as droughts became more frequent and intense and the rainy season triggers recurring floods.

The UN’s most recent food security analysis showed the April to June harvest was the worse since 2011 thanks to poor and erratic rains, which were followed by flooding, it said in a statement.

“Up to six million people are now projected to be food insecure over the coming months,” Lowcock said. A third of them will be severely food insecure without sustained aid.”

Climate change-related events would also continue to have “deleterious effects” on the country’s humanitarian situation, he added. Some 2.6 million people have already been forced from their homes as a result of natural disasters, as well as conflict, the UN statement said.

The latest crisis comes with many people, who have for centuries lived their lives as nomadic farmers, still struggling to recover from the ravages of prolonged drought in 2017 that brought the country to the edge of famine.

Lowcock led a group including senior officials from the World Bank to Baidoa in southwest Somalia, where some 360,000 people have fled drought, terrorist attacks and armed conflict in the past three years, finding refuge in 435 sites around the city.

Al Jazeera’s Mohammad Adow, reporting from Baidoa, said people were continuing to arrive in the city, and the population of the displaced now outnumbered the city’s original inhabitants…..

Source: Al Jazeera