News / Africa

UN: Famine Likely to Spread Across Southern Somalia

A malnourished child from southern Somalia sits on the bed at Banadir hospital in Mogadishu, Somalia, August 2, 2011
A malnourished child from southern Somalia sits on the bed at Banadir hospital in Mogadishu, Somalia, August 2, 2011
Lisa Schlein

The United Nations says it expects famine to spread to all regions of southern Somalia within the coming weeks.  This grim assessment comes barely two weeks after the United Nations officially declared famine in two regions of southern Somalia amid the worst drought to hit the Horn of Africa in 60 years.  

United Nations aid agencies are working furiously to try to provide food and other essential relief to drought victims in Somalia.  But, they say humanitarian assistance is severely hampered by fighting in the capital Mogadishu between pro-government forces and the militant group al-Shabab.

Last week, African Union peacekeepers launched an offensive against al-Shabab, which they say is aimed at making it easier for relief groups to deliver aid.

Despite the ongoing fighting, U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR) spokeswoman Fatoumata Lejeune-Kaba says the drought is so critical that desperate people continue to flee into the war-ravaged capital in search of food.  She warns the famine in Somalia is likely to grow in size and severity.

Last month alone, she says 27,000 people fled into Mogadishu from the heavily drought-affected areas of Bay, Bakool and Lower Shabelle.

"According to the latest data from our food security partners, food security is expected to deteriorate over the coming months," Lejeune-Kaba noted.  "By August/September, all regions of southern Somalia are likely to be facing famine, according to the Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit and it is expected that the influx of IDPs [Internally Displaced People] in the city will continue as a result."  

Lejeune-Kaba tells VOA the determination of a famine is not done lightly.  It is based on several strict measures.

"We are getting our information from the Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit, which is basing it on the current levels of malnutrition, mortality rate, the combination of increasing food prices and harsh dry season," added Lejeune-Kaba.  "They established that the food security can only deteriorate over the coming months because of all these factors."  

A simple shortage of food is not enough to qualify as a famine.   Before a famine can be declared, the United Nations says 20 percent of the population must have fewer than 2,100 kilocalories of food available per day.  

More than 30 percent of the children must be acutely malnourished.  Finally, two deaths per day in every 10,000 people or four deaths per day in every 10,000 children must be caused by a lack of food.   

U.N. officials say some areas of southern Somalia are exceeding these measures.

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