Humanitarian Coordinator’s statement following the release of report on excess mortality during the famine in Somalia

Mogadishu (02 May 2013) – The Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, Philippe Lazzarini, made the following statement today:

The magnitude of the mortality figures today is truly unsettling. Almost 260,000 people died as a result of famine and food insecurity between October 2010 and April 2012. Half of them were children below the age of 5. As the first scientific study on excess mortality during the crisis, the report confirms that we should have done more before famine was declared on 20 July 2011.

Warnings that began as far back as the drought in 2010 did not trigger sufficient early action. In the worst affected areas, access to people in need was tremendously difficult. The suffering played out like a drama without witnesses. When famine was declared, a massive mobilization of the humanitarian community helped mitigate the worst effects of the crisis. We reached previously inaccessible areas through innovative programming and by strengthening local partnerships.

We have been working with our partners to change the way we operate. With 2.7 million people still in need of life-saving assistance and support to build up their livelihoods, we are redoubling efforts to invest in Somalia’s people and communities to break the cycle of crisis and response. We are seeking ways to bridge humanitarian and development work which will be crucial to consolidating the resilience of Somalia’s people and communities.

The report contributes to our understanding of the crisis. Our aim is to ensure that Somalia never goes through another famine again.

For further information, please contact:
Russell Geekie at geekie@un.org or +254 731 043 156
or for comment in Somali
Abdi Yussuf Noor at nooryussuf@un.org or + 252 699775813

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:

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