Many in Central Somalia Need Food Aid Because of Drought
Many in Central Somalia Need Food Aid Because of Drought
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Like the rest of eastern Africa, central Somalia is in the grips of a debilitating drought. As a result, more than half of the population is in need of emergency food aid and one in five children is acutely malnourished. Large segments of the population have been displaced due to drought and ongoing conflict. Aid workers predict that food aid will dry up by mid-November, making an already desperate situation even worse.

Five consecutive rainy seasons in the Mudug region with no rain.

The few remaining animals scrounge for what little pasture exists.  

Now, 51 percent of Mudug's population is in need of emergency food aid.

Malyuun Islan is one of them. She and her five children fled to a camp in Mudug's capital Gaalkacyo because of war and famine. "Not much has changed, except there is no fighting here. I'm still poor. I still have no access to water, no access to food," she says.

Many of the area's wells have dried up.

Beirut Khalif Lahuva was once able to feed her family. "We used to plant our own crops near our house. Now that we do not have water, we cannot plant crops anymore," she says.

Children are among the hardest hit, with one in five classified as acutely malnourished.

But getting help to those in need is an uphill battle. The United Nations, in its latest appeal, received less than half of the funds needed for desperate communities.

Aid workers say stocks of food aid will run out in mid-November.

Also, war and the lack of security are preventing aid workers from getting food to hungry people.

In Mudug, aid workers worry about being kidnapped. Some 13 aid workers are in captivity across Somalia.

There has been an upsurge of fighting recently, mostly between Islamist militant groups trying to wrest control over certain parts of the country.

Ahmed Ali Salad is governor of Mudug. He says his administration is doing what it can to address the drought. "We are trying to mitigate the situation by contributing salaries from the government staffs and taking emergency measures such as tracking water and distributing food, but that is not enough," he says.

Experts warn that the on-going conflict could escalate as people become more desperate for food and water.