Drought / East Africa / Nutrition / Pastoralism / Somalia / Vulnerability

Famine has spread to 3 new areas of southern Somalia–situation likely to deteriorate further

Projected situation for southern Somalia: Aug-Dec 2011

Projected food security situation in southern Somalia for August through December 2011 (map by the Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit for Somalia [FSNAU]).

Two critical agencies—the Famine Early Warning System Network (FEWS NET) and the Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU)—reported this week (2 Aug 2011) that famine thresholds have been surpassed in three new areas of southern Somalia, raising the number of regions in central and southern Somalia that are experiencing famine from 2 (declared on 20 Jul 2011) to 5.

‘New evidence indicates that both the prevalence of acute malnutrition and rates of crude mortality have surpassed famine thresholds in the agropastoral areas of Balcad and Cadale districts of Middle Shabellei, the Afgoye corridor IDP settlement, and the Mogadishu IDP community. Food access indicators in these areas surpassed the famine threshold earlier this year. As a result, FSNAU and FEWS NET have now classified these areas as IPC Phase 5—Famine. These three areas join the Bakool agropastoral livelihood zone and the Lower Shabelle region, where famine was declared on July 20th.

‘A humanitarian emergency persists across all other regions of southern Somalia, and tens of thousands of excess deaths have already occurred.Despite increased attention in recent weeks, current humanitarian response remains inadequate, due in part to ongoing access restrictions and difficulties in scaling‐up emergency assistance programs, as well as funding gaps. As a result, famine is expected to spread across all regions of the south in the coming four to six weeks and is likely to persist until at least December 2011. Continued efforts to implement an immediate, large‐scale, and comprehensive response are needed. Nationwide, 3.7 million people are in crisis, with 3.2 million people in need of immediate, lifesaving assistance (2.8 million in the south). . . .

‘Local cereal prices across the south are far above average, more than double and triple 2010 prices in some areas, and continue to rise. As a result, both livestock‐to‐cereal and wage‐to‐cereal terms of trade have deteriorated substantially. Across all livelihoods, poor households (~30 percent of the population) are unable to meet basic food needs and have almost no ability to cope with these food deficits. . . .

‘The current situation represents the most severe humanitarian crisis in the world today and Africa’s worst food security crisis since Somalia’s 1991/92 famine. Further deterioration is considered likely . . . .

‘A massive multisectoral response is critical to prevent additional deaths and total livelihood/social collapse. Most immediately, interventions to improve food access and to address health/nutrition issues are needed. In the medium term, interventions to rebuild and support livelihoods are critical. Extraordinary measures to provide these responses should be implemented. These assistance needs will persist through at least December 2011.

‘. . . All information will be made available through www.fews.net and www.fsnau.org.

Read the whole report from the Famine Early Warning System Network (FEWS NET) and the Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU) on the ReliefWeb website: Famine thresholds surpassed in three new areas of southern Somalia, 3 Aug 2011.

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