Millions of Somalis in need of aid, survey shows

The number of people needing humanitarian aid in Somalia has leapt 17,5% in a year to 3,76-million, or half of the Horn of Africa country’s population, an authoritative study showed on Tuesday.

The Food Security and Nutrition Analysis (FSNAU) report said three-quarters of those in need were concentrated in central and southern regions where fighting between the government and insurgents was heaviest and where aid workers had the least access.

Combined with the mounting violence, an intensifying humanitarian crisis will feed fears in the region and beyond that the chaos in Somalia could spill across its borders.

Cindy Holleman, chief technical adviser of the Somalia FSNAU, told Reuters that the increase in the number needing help from 3,2-million in August 2008 showed a serious deterioration in the emergency food security and nutrition situation.

”More worrying is that the escalating fighting and conflict is occurring in the same areas where we are now recording the greatest problems of food access and malnutrition,” she said.

”This will not only place additional burdens on the people already in crisis, but will also make it difficult for humanitarian relief to reach the vulnerable populations most in need of humanitarian and life-saving interventions.”

Violence has killed more than 18 000 Somalis since the start of 2007 and driven another one million from their homes.

Civilians flee conflict
The FSNAU, set up by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation to provide aid agencies with reliable data from the lawless country, said one in five children were now acutely malnourished, and one in twenty were severely malnourished.

These rates were among the highest in the world, it added.

Included in those needing aid were 1,4-million rural people affected by a severe drought, 655 000 urban poor struggling with very high food and non-food prices, and more than 1,42-million internally displaced people (IDPs) who have fled the conflict.

The number of IDPs has risen 40% in just six months.

It said the epicentre of the crisis was in Mudug, Galgadud, Hiran and Bakool regions of south and central Somalia, which have been afflicted by drought for two-and-a-half years.

”Livestock herds have been decimated and destitute pastoralists are gathering in main villages and towns in search of assistance,” the report said.

”The depth of the crisis in these areas is severe, with up to 75% of the total population in humanitarian emergency.”

Given the escalating civil war, the FSNAU also issued an early warning for an even greater deterioration in the humanitarian situation depending on the extent of the fighting. — Reuters

We make it make sense

If this story helped you navigate your world, subscribe to the M&G today for just R30 for the first three months

Subscribers get access to all our best journalism, subscriber-only newsletters, events and a weekly cryptic crossword.”

Related stories

WELCOME TO YOUR M&G

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

Advertising

Latest stories

Suicide cases soar in Zimbabwe

The economic crisis in the country appears to be pushing people over the mental edge

OPINION| New UK work visa to exclude graduates from Africa

If graduates did not get their qualifications from the list of top 50 universities, 40 of which are in the US, France, China, Hong Kong, Australia, Germany, Canada and Japan, they will be excluded

Hackers infiltrate SA illicit financial flows conference with porn clip

The conference was attended by state agencies, blue- chip global and local non-governmental agencies and public accountability experts

OPINION| South African audiences want more authentic and accurate diversity...

The media has the power to shape perceptions, so television shows and movies can help shape a positive view of people who feel stereotyped
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×