Drought / Drylands / East Africa / Food Security / Pastoralism / Somalia / Vulnerability

United Nations declares famine over in Somalia–but says millions still at risk

Information Assessment in Dadaab

A herd of goats is driven through Ifo Refugee Camp at dawn on 8 Aug 2011; many families said they fled to Dadaab, Kenya, after all of their livestock died because of the drought in Somalia; the dirt road from Garissa to Dadaab was littered with cow and goat skeletons (photo in Flickr by Internews Network).

Exceptional harvest and food deliveries have improved conditions in famine-struck Somalia, but millions of people are still at risk.

‘The famine is over in Somalia thanks to good rains, a bumper harvest and donor aid, but the next 90 days will be critical to ensure the country does not slip back into extreme hunger, United Nations officials have said.

‘”There is still a crisis in Somalia that affects 2.34 million people with high risks of malnutrition and insecurity,” the new director-general of the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), José Graziano da Silva, said, announcing the end to a famine declared last July. . . .

‘The announcement came on the release of a new report by the FAO-managed Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit and USAID’s Famine Early Warning Systems Network, which said the number of people in need of emergency humanitarian assistance had dropped from 4 million to 2.34m, or 31% of the population. . . .

‘The new report also warned that an estimated 325,000 acutely malnourished children are still at risk, with 70% of these in southern areas. . . .

“We have three months, let’s say, to work to avoid another possible famine from a drought. We cannot avoid the drought … but we can avoid famine from drought,” Graziano da Silva said, stressing the need for longterm measures to strengthen agricultural capacity. . . .

‘Oxfam country director Senait Gebregziabher said the world should not turn its back on Somalia despite the improvement. . . .’

Read the whole article in the GuardianFamine in Somalia is over, says UN, 3 Feb 2012.

Read earlier reports posted on ILRI’s News and Clippings blogs about the 2011 food crisis in the Horn.

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