- The drought is being made worse because of global warming.
By Abdi Sheikh | MOGADISHU
March 4, 2017
Some 110 people have died in southern Somalia in the last two days from famine and diarrhea resulting from a drought, the prime minister said on Saturday, as the area braces itself for widespread shortages of food.
In February, United Nations children's agency UNICEF said the drought in Somalia could lead to up to 270,000 children suffering from severe acute malnutrition this year.
"It is a difficult situation for the pastoralists and their livestock. Some people have been hit by famine and diarrhea at the same time. In the last 48 hours 110 people died due to famine and diarrhea in Bay region," Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire's office said in a statement.
"The Somali government will do its best, and we urge all Somalis wherever they are to help and save the dying Somalis," he said in the statement released after a meeting of a famine response committee.
In 2011, some 260,000 people starved to death due to famine in Somalia.
Famines result from a combination “triple failure”:
- Production failure: In Somalia, a two-year drought – which is phenomenal in now being the driest year in the last 60 – has caused record food inflation, particularly in the expectation of the next harvest being 50% of normal. Somalia already had levels of malnutrition and premature mortality so high as to be in a “normalized” state of permanent emergency. This is true too in pockets across the entire region.
- Access failure: The drought has killed off the pastoralists’ prime livestock assets (up to 90% animal mortality in some areas), slashing further their purchasing power. In addition Somalia severe internal conflict has made development almost impossible to achieve and data difficult to access both accurately and credibly.
- Response failure: Underlying it all has been the inability of Somalia’s government and donors to tackle the country’s chronic poverty, which has marginalized vulnerable people and fundamentally weakened their ability to cope. There’s been a lack of investment in social services and basic infrastructure and lack of good governance. Meanwhile donors have reacted too late and too cautiously. The overall international donor response to this humanitarian crisis has been slow and inadequate. According to UN figures, $1 billion is required to meet immediate needs. So far donors have committed less than $200m, leaving an $800 million black hole.
This famine represents the most serious food insecurity situation in the world today in terms of both scale and severity.
This is the first officially-declared famine in Africa so far this century, at a time when famine has been eradicated everywhere else.