News / Africa

UN Warns of Looming Food Crisis in Somalia

U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator in Somalia Philippe Lazzarini gives a press conference in Nairobi, May 19, 2014.
U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator in Somalia Philippe Lazzarini gives a press conference in Nairobi, May 19, 2014.
Gabe Joselow
The United Nations warns that Somalia is at risk of another famine due to drought, rising food prices and the lingering threat posed by al-Shabab militants.  The U.N. says a funding shortfall is forcing agencies to scale down humanitarian work when it is needed most.

At a news conference in Nairobi Monday, U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia Phillippe Lazzarini said the current situation in Somalia has “troubling similarities” with the conditions seen in the country before the famine declared in 2011.

“There is an ongoing conflict, we have the drought, we have access problems, the funding has completely shrunk and the private business does not have the access it should have,” he said.

Worsening crisis

Lazzarini said the situation is likely to worsen in the coming months.

“We are looking today at a series of elements that could push Somalia back into a crisis,” he said.

 
FILE - Somali women and children sit under a tree at a refugee camp in Dolo, Somalia while waiting for food rations.FILE - Somali women and children sit under a tree at a refugee camp in Dolo, Somalia while waiting for food rations.
x
FILE - Somali women and children sit under a tree at a refugee camp in Dolo, Somalia while waiting for food rations.
FILE - Somali women and children sit under a tree at a refugee camp in Dolo, Somalia while waiting for food rations.
The U.N. says some two million Somalis are already dealing with food shortages, and more than 200,000 children are acutely malnourished.

The chief technical adviser for the U.N.'s food security analysis unit for Somalia, Daniel Molla, said those most at risk are displaced people and those living in the areas of Lower Shabelle, Middle Shabelle and Bay region - the same populations hit hardest by the last famine.

He said the potential for a food crisis depends largely on the duration of the rains which began this month.

“In the best scenario, the likely outcome will be a below-average harvest.  Of course, if the rains don't continue through the end of May and June, the outcome could be much, much worse,” he said.
 
Lower Shabelle, Shabelle and Bay regions of SomaliaLower Shabelle, Shabelle and Bay regions of Somalia
x
Lower Shabelle, Shabelle and Bay regions of Somalia
Lower Shabelle, Shabelle and Bay regions of Somalia
Military operations, an additional challenge

A military offensive to drive the al-Qaida-linked militant group al-Shabab out of areas under its control is creating additional challenges.

Lazzarini said the militants are threatening truck drivers and cutting off supply routes to newly seized towns.

“Because of this, I would say, policy of encirclement, the access for the private sector is becoming more difficult today than it used to be before,” he said.

The U.N. has requested $933 million to fund humanitarian activities in Somalia this year, but so far has received only 18 percent of that amount.

Lazzarini said the “competing crises” in South Sudan, Central African Republic and Syria have taken some of the attention away from Somalia.

He said the lack of funding is already threatening life-saving operations, including the U.N. children's agency's health program as well as World Food Program operations.


You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

Video Scientists Say We Need Softer Robots

Today’s robots are mostly hard, rigid machines, with sharp edges and forceful movements, but researchers at Carnegie Mellon University say they should be softer and therefore safer 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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs