Somalia is currently facing the most serious food and nutrition crisis in the world in terms of both scale and severity and the humanitarian community needs to immediately scale up its operations to save lives and prevent further deterioration. On 20 July, a famine was declared in two regions of southern Somalia: southern Bakool and Lower Shabelle. On 3 August, two districts of Middle Shabelle, the Afgooye corridor IDP settlement and the Mogadishu IDP community were added to the areas surpassing the famine thresholds. These announcements were based on the latest round of nutrition assessment data collected in early July in southern Somalia and a comprehensive analysis of local and imported food commodity prices, pasture availability, expected July Gu-season harvests, and October-December rainfall forecasts. The analysis brought the estimated number of people in crisis nationwide to 3.7 million, of whom an estimated 2.8 million people are in the south. Prior to this declaration, humanitarian agencies had already revised their strategies and planning figures in the mid-year review of the Somalia 2011 CAP based on an estimated planning figure of 2.5 million people in crisis. The new increase in the number of people requiring immediate life-saving aid necessitates further scale-up and crisis planning.
In the last few months, tens of thousands of Somalis, the majority of whom are children, have died.
Affected by consecutive droughts and ongoing conflict, malnutrition rates are currently the highest in the world, with peaks of 50% in certain areas of southern Somalia. There are an estimated 310,000 acutely malnourished children in the regions of Lower Shabelle, Middle and Lower Juba, Bay, Bakool, Banadir, Gedo and Hiraan. The under-five death rates are higher than 4/10,000/day in all areas of the south, equivalent to 10% of children under five dying every 11 weeks. Over 184,000 people have fled the country to seek assistance and refuge in neighbouring Kenya and Ethiopia and 167,470 people (100,000 of them in Mogadishu) have been internally displaced since January due to conflict and drought, bringing the total number of internally displaced people (IDPs) to 1.46 million.
In addition to famine, south-central Somalia presents security and access challenges. The dynamics of the conflict are changing rapidly and in the past year humanitarian access has shrunk to unprecedented levels in certain areas, curtailing the ability of some organizations to provide a timely, full-scale response. Despite these challenges, some organizations in southern Somalia have been able to scale up activities and access new areas.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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