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

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment 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.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid