According to the latest food security and nutrition analysis, the country of Somalia has reached a tipping point as a result of which, the lives of thousands of people is under risk. In the Bay region in south-central Somalia (Baidoa and Burhakaba districts), a famine is unfolding, and is likely to continue till March, 2023 if humanitarian aid is not significantly and immediately increased.
Millions more are also facing the dangers of acute hunger, women, in particular those who are pregnant and lactating, and the children under the age of five are among the most vulnerable and require urgent assistance to ward-off the worst-case scenario.
Starvation and deaths are most probably already occurring. During the famine of 2011, around 50% of the 2, 50, 000 people who had died, did so even before the official declaration and at least half of them were children.
“In total, across the Horn of Africa, 20.5 million people are facing a dire and entirely avoidable hunger crisis. This is unacceptable”, stated the principals of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee of the World Health Organization.
They further said that famine declarations should not be the only trigger for meaningful action and that local authorities, governments, UN agencies and NGOs have been issuing clear warnings of catastrophic hunger levels for more than a year. These alerts have been largely overlooked and, despite global commitments to anticipating crises, funds for these life-saving activities have not reached the scale needed.
They further added that a rapid scale-up of humanitarian assistance since early 2022 has undoubtedly saved many lives, however, the resources available are quickly being outpaced by the explosion in needs.
The principals of the IASC then urged all actors to facilitate the immediate and safe access for humanitarian operations.
“We appeal to donors to provide immediate, flexible funding to enable humanitarian agencies on the ground, particularly local and international NGOs, to rapidly scale up and prevent more deaths, protect livelihoods and avert a deepening catastrophe. Getting aid to rural communities before they are forced to abandon their homes in search of food is critical”, they implored.
It was then stated that together, we have averted a famine before and we can and must do so again and that in a world of staggering wealth, it is unacceptable that people are dying of hunger and that we must collectively take an action now.