The head of the UN Office of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) warned on Monday 05 September about the disaster that is hitting Somalia. Martin Griffiths announced that the country is on the verge of famine.
“Famine is knocking at the door. Today is a final warning. The Somalia Food and Nutrition Analysis Report shows concrete indications that famine will occur in two areas of the region … between October and December of this year,” said Martin Griffiths as he led a press conference from Mogadishu, the Somali capital.
According to him, two districts in the south of the country, Baidoa and Buurhakaba, are particularly affected by this alarming situation. And for good reason, the country is affected by consecutive seasons of drought, not to mention the soaring price of certain foodstuffs.
These insufficient rains have caused a humanitarian catastrophe where hunger and thirst have become a common feature of a heavily pastoral population. Martin Griffiths said he was “deeply shocked by the level of pain and suffering that so many Somalians are enduring,” after visiting Baidoa, where he said he saw “children so malnourished they could barely speak.
Last August, the UN said that since January, at least 500 children have died of malnutrition and disease across Somalia and that an estimated 1.5 million children under the age of five are acutely malnourished. In addition, nearly half of Somalia’s population, or 7.8 million people, are affected by the historic drought, of which 213,000 are at great risk of starvation, according to UN figures.
Moreover, this situation has already caused more than one million displaced persons and several thousand deaths in the country. This episode of drought is the most devastating ever experienced by the country because it occurs in a post-pandemic context and especially in the middle of a war where the explosion of food prices does not spare any country. Conclusion: the urgency at the moment is to act to save lives.