A group of 23 nongovernmental organizations working in Somalia say the country is in danger of falling into famine, as it did in 2010, because of drought and food shortages.
The groups known as the Somalia NGO Consortium released its statement Tuesday, saying the shortages are linked to the El Nino weather phenomenon, which has proven to be one of the worst on record.
According to the NGOs, the effects of El Nino on the Horn of Africa have been particularly severe, compounding an already "challenging" humanitarian situation in Somalia. They say hundreds of thousands of people have been affected in Somaliland and Puntland, with many families destitute because of livestock deaths and soaring food prices.
The group says "urgent humanitarian action" is needed immediately to avert a disaster larger than the two-year famine that began in 2010 and killed more than a quarter of a million people. The group says by the time famine is declared, it will be too late for many of the victims.
The statement from the nongovernmental organizations is timed to coincide with a United Nations meeting being held in Geneva Tuesday on humanitarian needs related to the effects of El Nino.