News / Africa

Study: Somalia Famine Claimed Nearly 260,000 Lives

Internally displaced Somali women stand in a queue waiting for relief food to be served in Hodan district south of capital Mogadishu September 5, 2011.
Internally displaced Somali women stand in a queue waiting for relief food to be served in Hodan district south of capital Mogadishu September 5, 2011.
Gabe Joselow
A new study commissioned by the United Nations estimates 258,000 people died in Somalia as a result of food insecurity during a period of famine.

The joint report from the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization and the U.S.-funded Famine Early Warning Systems Network outlines the grim statistics from a period of food insecurity from October 2010 to April of last year.

According to the study, 133,000 children under the age of five died as a direct result of a lack of food, or because they were made too weak to fight off disease.

In the Lower Shabelle region of southern Somalia, at the heart of the famine, an estimated 18 percent of the child population died.

At the height of the emergency, 30,000 people were dying each month.

U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia Philippe Lazzarini, speaking to reporters from Mogadishu Thursday, called the figures “shocking” and said more could have been done to prevent the worst of it.
Somalia food insecurity, 2010 - 2012Somalia food insecurity, 2010 - 2012
x
Somalia food insecurity, 2010 - 2012
Somalia food insecurity, 2010 - 2012


"After the famine was declared over in February 2012, the humanitarian community took a hard look at the events, we learned lessons, also we warned repeatedly from August 2010 that the food crisis was deepening, the aid operation and funding response was too slow," he explained.

The famine, declared in July 2011, was the result of two successive failed rainy seasons, resulting in poor harvests and the death of livestock.

The hardest-hit areas, in southern and central Somalia, were also under the control of the al-Shabab militant group, which had banned access to humanitarian agencies, making the crisis worse.

Lazzarini said after the famine declaration, humanitarian agencies were able to mobilize into previously inaccessible places.

He said the current aid and development strategy should focus on building the long-term resilience of Somali communities, so they can better withstand future shocks.

"We need to proactively invest in Somali people and communities now, to break the cycle of crisis and response," said  Lazzarini.

The U.N. says about 2.7 million people are still in need of assistance in Somalia.

Al-Shabab continues to hold a grip on rural areas of southern and central Somalia, though they have been driven out of the major cities.

The new government of Somalia, formed last year after two decades of civil war, struggles to provide services in areas outside of the capital.

You May Like

India PM Modi's Party Distances Itself From Religious Conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid