News / Africa

Aid Groups Warn of Somalia Food Crisis

Internally displaced Somali children line up with containers in hand to receive food aid at a food distribution center, in Mogadishu, Somalia, March 15, 2011.
Internally displaced Somali children line up with containers in hand to receive food aid at a food distribution center, in Mogadishu, Somalia, March 15, 2011.
Michael Onyiego

With seasonal rains failing across Somalia, a coalition of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) is urging immediate action to fight what they are calling one of the "worst droughts in recent memory."

Since March, farmers and pastoralist communities across east Africa have been waiting for the long rains which will sustain them until the end of the year. Throughout the region, drought conditions have developed, sparking fears of shortages and hardship.

The rains have finally arrived for much of East Africa, easing those fears. But for Somalia it may be too late. In the Horn of Africa, the drought was so intense that many in the country are now facing what experts call a "food crisis."

In response to the rising crisis, a coalition of 31 aid groups is urging immediate attention to avert suffering.

"East Africa has recurrent droughts often, this one has been called the worst in a couple of decades," said Geno Teofilo, a spokesperson for Oxfam Novib in Nairobi.  "Although the rains have started there recently there is going to be a major food gap until the next harvest comes along. It has really gone beyond a drought, now it is a food crisis."

According to Teofilo, the situation has become so severe that even camels belonging to the pastoralist communities are beginning to die alongside thousands of livestock.

And the drought is only compounded by the ongoing instability in Somalia. The Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and allied militias are currently engaged in a campaign to wrest control of Southern Somalia from Islamic insurgent group al Shabab.

According to the coalition, at least 2.4 million Somalis, one third of the country, are currently in need of humanitarian assistance. The Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit - Somalia estimates around 241,000 children to be acutely malnourished.  Teofilo says it is not easy to assess the full extent of the situation.  

"That is difficult to figure at this point since access to some of the worst-hit areas is difficult for relief agencies," added Teofilo.  "What we do know is that this drought has caused a lot of displacement. More than 50,000 Somalis have been displaced in recent months. Some of them have been internally displaced within Somalia - going to Mogadishu in search of food. Others have fled across border to Ethiopia or Kenya."

The aid agencies are calling on international donors to provide both short and long-term assistance to address the current crisis and invest in infrastructure to prevent future disasters.

Somalia has not had a functioning government since 1991.

You May Like

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid