Around 7.1 million people in Somalia are currently struggling with hunger as the country reels under its worst drought in 40 years, and an official declaration of famine is predicted to be declared as soon as October.
A combination of drought, conflict and surging food and fuel costs have negatively impacted approximately 20.5 million people across the Horn of Africa and Somalia has been particularly hard hit.
According to a new IPC report, in Somalia alone an estimated three million livestock have died due to the ongoing drought conditions and more than one million people have been forced from their homes in search of food and water.
The report states that a famine would have already been declared in the region if not for humanitarian assistance that has managed to reach the country.
According to Action Against Hunger, a global nonprofit leader in the movement to end hunger, the organization saw a surge in children suffering from severe and deadly malnutrition; treating 253 percent more children for malnutrition in the first half of 2022 compared to the same period in 2021.
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In the populous districts of Baidoa and Buurhakaba, cases of malnutrition have doubled over the past year and the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) Famine Review Committee, expects the regions to fall into famine between October and December 2022.
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Four rainy seasons have failed
Ahmed Khalif, Country Director for Action Against Hunger in Somalia told Globe Newswire, “The climate crisis is a food crisis. Across the Horn of Africa, four rainy seasons have failed and people are dying of hunger every day. If the rains don’t come next month, then famine almost certainly will.”
“With food increasingly hard to find and impossible to afford, more parents face the impossible choice of which child gets to eat and which might die. The world has enough food for everyone. Now, we need the will to act,” he said.
An estimated 6.4 million people across Somalia lack access to potable water and safe sanitation, which is driving outbreaks of waterborne diseases and gastrointestinal illness that makes hunger worse.
According to the IPV report, ‘The humanitarian situation in Bay region and other parts of Somalia has been deteriorating in recent months as the level of humanitarian assistance fails to keep pace with rising levels of need, and as the coping capacity of the most vulnerable is exhausted due to combined impact of four consecutive season of poor rainfall, sharp increases in in food prices, and conflict.”
The IPC report lays out several recommendations to address the crisis including recognizing the “extreme urgency” of the situation, increasing humanitarian aid to the impacted regions, implementing a plan to support the region guided by the Somalia Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) and ensuring data collection “and regular monitoring of drivers in areas subject to similar drivers in neighbouring countries in the Horn of Africa.”
“One mother in the Buurhakaba district left home in search of food and help for her child only to discover that her baby died on her back,” Khalif said, adding that, “Malnutrition is treatable. Yet, our centers are overwhelmed with patients and often do not have enough supplies, beds, staff, or medicines. We need more resources to save lives and reach more families sooner to prevent these senseless deaths.”