A new report says Somalia is now in its
worst humanitarian crisis in 18 years.
And it warns things could get even worse.
UN Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit for Somalia, part of the Food and
Agriculture Organization, issued the report Tuesday. Cindy Holleman, chief technical advisor for
the unit in Nairobi, says there are three main reasons driving Somalia's
is that there's an ongoing drought in the country. Parts of the country are suffering five
consecutive seasons of rain failure….
And about 1.4 million people are affected by the drought."
drought has hit pastoralists very hard with the loss of large numbers of
second factor is hyperinflation.
very high and rapid increases in food prices and non-food prices, which is
beyond the reach of a lot of the poor in urban areas, as well as those
populations that are dependent on market purchases," she says.
And of course conflict
now it's one of the worst times in the last 18 years for civil insecurity," she
says, withnearly one and a half million people displaced in Somalia since last
conflict between Transitional Federal Government forces and Islamist militias
has been escalating in the south-central region.
75 percent of the…people in crisis right now are located in south-central
(Somalia). Also, two-thirds of the
children that are currently acutely malnourished are located in south-central,"
adds, "This is the same areas where the conflict is most tense and there's not
very good access for humanitarian workers.
So one of the priorities has to be resolving the conflict and returning
to peace and security."
A lot of hungry children
'We have done about 33 nutrition
surveys in the last three months throughout the country. And we are noting that the nutrition levels
have deteriorated. Currently…we seeing
that one in five children are acutely malnourished and one in twenty are
severely malnourished," she says.
says Somalia's acute and severe malnutrition rates are "the highest in the
world" and continue to worsen.
Why so dry, so often?
have been looking at the cycles of drought in Somalia over the last 30
years. And there was a drought in this
area 2003 / 2004, but it hadn't reached the level it is now. The last drought that they're comparing this
to in its severity is 1974," she says.
says it's still not certain whether climate change is to blame.
main thing is we are issuing an early warning for an even further deterioration
in the humanitarian situation depending on what happens in terms of the
conflict," she says.
Somalia has been in nearly constant
conflict since the fall of President Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991.