Somalia: Time running out to avoid mass starvation
By Sam Bolitho
International donors must urgently scale up the response to Somalia’s worsening food crisis to avoid a full scale famine, CARE International warns.
Speaking after visiting some of the country’s worst affected areas, CARE’s Somalia Country Director, Raheel Nazir Chaudhary, said many communities remained cut off from lifesaving humanitarian aid.
“By now we should see trucks of food and water continually being driven back and forth on these roads but in many areas we have hardly seen any,” he said after visiting the regions Togdheer, Sool and Sanaag.
“We are scrambling to scale up our emergency assistance but more funds and resources are needed to ensure as many people as possible get the help they desperately need.
“We have possibly only weeks to avoid a full scale famine.”
Mr Chaudhary said changes to humanitarian funding mechanisms were needed to enable agencies to deliver aid more quickly.
“The humanitarian community and governments learned important lessons after famine devastated this region in 2011. But resources for lifesaving assistance are still too slow to arrive.
“The need for reform was a key topic at the World Humanitarian Summit in 2016. Now words must be turned into action.”
Mr Chaudhary said while people had managed to cope with repeated seasons without rain, the imminent fourth rainless season would change the situation dramatically.
“People are now already past the brink and have been desperately appealing for help.”
“Their livestock, on which they depend to survive, lie dead all across the parched landscape. People are beginning to migrate in large numbers to the few villages that still have a water source. And with that, the risk of waterborne diseases is huge.”
CARE in Somalia is scaling up emergency response to provide a total of 1.6 million people with lifesaving support in the most affected regions: Sool, Sanaag, Bari, Awdal, Lower Juba and Banadir, including water, food, therapeutic feeding services, cash, plastic sheets, blankets, sleeping mats, kitchen sets and jerry cans, as well as providing psychosocial support and dignity kits for survivors of gender-based violence.
CARE Australia is an international humanitarian aid organisation fighting poverty, with a special focus on working with women and girls to bring lasting change to their communities.
Donate to CARE’s East Africa Hunger Crisis Appeal at www.care.org.au/famine
For interviews please contact Sam Bolitho on 0419 567 777 or firstname.lastname@example.org