News / Africa

Somalia Risks Growing Food Insecurity

Abdulahi Musa, a malnourished five-year-old boy, sits on his mother's lap at Banadir hospital in Mogadishu, Somalia Tuesday, May 20, 2014. Much of Somalia has seen no or erratic rains in recent months and fighting between African Union forces and the Islamic extremists of al-Shabab is cutting off food shipments to many parts of the country and discouraging farmers from planting - as a result, 50,000 children are severely malnourished, says the aid community. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsameh)
Abdulahi Musa, a malnourished five-year-old boy, sits on his mother's lap at Banadir hospital in Mogadishu, Somalia Tuesday, May 20, 2014. Much of Somalia has seen no or erratic rains in recent months and fighting between African Union forces and the Islamic extremists of al-Shabab is cutting off food shipments to many parts of the country and discouraging farmers from planting - as a result, 50,000 children are severely malnourished, says the aid community. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsameh)

Multimedia

Audio
Joe DeCapua
Somalia is again facing growing food insecurity. The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization blames it on late rains, a poor harvest and ongoing conflict. It’s estimated 800,000 Somalis currently are in need of food aid. Of those, 200,000 are described as malnourished children under age five.
 
Listen to De Capua report on Somalia food insecurity
Listen to De Capua report on Somalia food insecurityi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X

Senior Economist Shukri Ahmed said $18-million dollars is needed over the next 90-days to scale-up rapid interventions.
 
“These three months are very important actually because this is what we call the hunger season. It’s usually just before the main harvest. The main harvest starts in August. And this is when you would have depleted you stocks from the earlier crop, which this year was also not very good. It was relatively poor.”
 
Ahmed said Somalia has some fundamental and chronic problems affecting its food supply.
 
“Whenever there is some escalation of one or the other, we raise these alarms. It could be the security situation that goes from bad to worse in certain cases – and in others it is the rainfall situation and drought conditions again rearing their head. And in others it is a combination of these things coming together,” he said.
 
Such combinations, he said, proved to be deadly in the past in Somalia.
 
It’s not clear whether the late and erratic rainfall is due to climate change. Ahmed says that would require further study. The current conditions, though, are well-known in the region.
 
“Generally, the eastern Africa, particularly the Horn of Africa – what we know as Somalia, parts of Ethiopia, parts of Kenya and even parts of Tanzania – have this erratic rainfall.  And every now and then there is this drought happening. But now that we don’t have infrastructure on the ground – the small irrigation systems that we have are broken in Somalia. And all [these] are coming together actually to create havoc on food security,” he said.
 
The late and erratic Gu rains – which normally occur from April though June – followed January’s poor harvest in southern Somalia. Maize and Sorghum prices have risen between 60 and 80-percent.
 
Ahmed said, “There was this escalation of conflict in main producing areas. So it didn’t give farmers enough time actually to prepare their land and to harvest.”
 
AU, Kenyan and Somali forces continue to battle the militant group al Shabab.
 
The FAO senior economist said that Somalis have done their best to cope.
 
“Somalis are resilient people. Generally through trade and exchange and through markets they were able actually to absorb most of these shocks.”
 
He said the estimated billion dollars in remittances from Somalis abroad were also crucial.
 
The rapid intervention programs for Somalia include distribution of seeds and vouchers for fertilizers and the use of tractors – pest and disease prevention and control – and a temporary cash for work project to rebuild some infrastructure.
 
“The canals, the irrigation and working on those and rehabilitating them so that whatever rains come, farmers and others would be able to use them. So the creation of employment is for the productive part, the productive assets of the people, which then help the livelihoods of the population,” he said.
 
Another part of the rapid intervention includes the restocking of livestock for about 4,000 pastoralists.
 
The FAO expects conditions to improve slightly in Somalia in August and September when the next harvest should be ready. It says the Gu rains resumed in early May, but would have to continue through the end of June to prevent food insecurity conditions from getting worse.

You May Like

Jihadist Assassin says Goal of Tunisia Murders Was Chaos

Abu Muqatil at-Tunusi’s remarks in a propaganda interview also cast light on attack on Bardo Museum More

Russia Denies License to Tatar-Language TV Station in Crimea

OSCE official says denial shows 'politically selective censorship of free and independent voices in Crimea is continuing' More

Kenyan Startups Tackle Expensive Remittances Through Bitcoin

Some think services could give Western Union a run for its money, though others say it’s still got a long way to go More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leadersi
X
Aru Pande
April 01, 2015 9:09 PM
The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leaders

The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Buhari: Nigeria Has ‘Embraced Democracy’

Nigeria woke up to a new president-elect Wednesday, Muhammadu Buhari. But people say democracy is the real winner as the country embarks on its first peaceful handover of power since the end of military rule in 1999. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Abuja.
Video

Video Tiny Camera Sees Inside Blood Vessels

Ahead of any surgical procedure, doctors try to learn as much as possible about the state of the organs they plan to operate on. A new camera developed in the Netherlands can now make that easier - giving surgeons an incredibly detailed look inside blood vessels, all the way to the patient’s heart. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Latin American Groups Seek Fans at Texas Music Festival

Latin American music groups played all over Austin, Texas, during the recent South by Southwest festival, and some made fans out of locals as well as people from around the world who had come to hear music. Such exposure can boost such groups' image back home. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Stockton Community, Police, Work to Improve Relations

Relations are tense between minority communities and police departments around the United States following police shootings that have generated widely-publicized protests. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Stockton, California, where police and community groups are working toward solutions, with backing from Washington.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More