Somalia: Conflict, Climate Crisis Accelerate Somali Hunger Crisis

United Nations — The head of the United Nations’ World Food Program warned Thursday that conflict and climate change are pushing millions of Somalis to the brink of hunger, as the agency is running out of funds to help them.

“Somalia was hauled back from the abyss of famine in 2022, because the international community saw the warning signs flashing red and raced to respond,” Cindy McCain told the U.N. Security Council in her first briefing since taking over the agency’s leadership in April.

“But now we are in danger of losing the precious gains we have made since those dark days last year,” she said.

Last year, a famine was averted after increased international funding, led by the United States, helped scale up humanitarian assistance. But the country still suffered severely, with the U.N. estimating that 43,000 people died, most likely due to the drought.

The WFP projects this year that some 6.6 million Somalis will face crisis levels or worse of food insecurity, and 1.8 million children under age 5 will suffer acute malnutrition.

“This includes 40,000 people fighting for survival in famine-like conditions,” McCain said.

The country is suffering its longest drought on record. Recent rains brought floods to parts of the country. Climate shocks have wiped out crops and scores of livestock and displaced 1.7 million people from their homes.

Like most U.N. aid programs, the WFP is suffering a serious cash shortfall for its operations in Somalia. McCain said at the end of April, the agency had to reduce the number of people it assists from 4.7 million each month to 3 million and it may have to make further cuts.

“Without an immediate cash injection, we will have to cut our distribution lists again in July, to just 1.8 million [people] per month,” she said. “That’s almost 3 million women, children and men who will be denied the assistance they desperately need, simply because we do not have the money to feed them.”

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *