Over one million people in Somalia are currently facing acute food shortage due to the poor performance of long rains earlier in the year, even as the country explores long-term solutions to persistent food insecurity and malnutrition.
United Nations deputy special representative, humanitarian co-ordinator in Somalia Peter de Clercq said the food crisis has continued to bite most parts of Somalia and shows no signs of abating.
“More than 1.1 million people cannot meet their daily food requirement and are in need of life-saving assistance,” said the UN aid chief.
Food and Agriculture Organisation representative in Somalia Richard Trenchard said the government needs to come up with an irrigation system and have a good road network to enable farmers reach markets to sell their produce.
The country’s efforts to boost food production have been undermined by irregular weather patterns.
Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit-Somalia projects that between August and December this year, 1.1 million people will face famine and another 3.9 million people are classified as “stressed” and in need of livelihood support — bringing the number of food insecure people to five million.
According to a recent count, Somalia has a total population of 11 million people and most of the country’s land is classified as being arid and semi-arid.
Nutrition surveys carried out between January and June this year found 300,000 children acutely malnourished with 50,000 of them being severely malnourished and in need of treatment.
This is an increase from 2015 where a total of 215,000 children under five were acutely malnourished, with almost 40,000 of those children facing a high risk of disease and death.
“Most of those affected are internally displaced persons and are in dire need of food assistance. Many are living in appalling conditions in settlements in urban areas and face forced evictions, discrimination and violation of children rights,” said Mr Trenchard.
The humanitarian organisation said the repatriation of Somalis back to their country following Kenya’s decision to close the Dadaab Refugee Camp will lead to more people in need of humanitarian aid.
The country experienced poor rainfall between April and June as the rains started late and ended early.