United Nations has disclosed that around 213,000 Somalis are at risk of facing starvation, as a fourth consecutive rainy season had failed in the country.
Meanwhile, meteorologists warned of another below-average rainy season later this year as the world’s climate becomes more erratic.
As a result of Russia-Ukraine war, world food prices are also close to record highs.
According to a statement from the World Food Programme (WFP), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), around 213,000 Somalis are at risk of starvation, a near threefold increase from levels expected in April.
The agencies disclosed that some 7.1 million Somalis or nearly half the population face acute levels of food insecurity, meaning they will be barely able to get the minimum calories they need and might have to sell assets to survive.
“We must act immediately to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe,” said El-Khidir Daloum, the WFP’s country director in Somalia.
“The lives of the most vulnerable are already at risk from malnutrition and hunger; we cannot wait for a declaration of famine to act. It’s a race against time to prevent famine.”
Around three million livestock have died in Somalia due to the drought that has lasted since mid-2021, a terrible toll in a largely pastoral country where families rely on their herds for meat, milk and trade, the agencies said.
The UN’s 2022 Humanitarian Response Plan is only 18 percent funded to date, and Somalia is competing with other global emergency hot spots for funding as food insecurity spreads around the world, the agencies added.
“We’re calling on the international community to act fast while we still have some hope of preventing widespread famine in Somalia,” the FAO’s representative in Somalia Etienne Peterschmitt said.