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Somalia: Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, Philippe Lazzarini Statement to the Media: “Sustained response crucial to prevent a free fall” [EN/SO]

2 September 2014 - 4:56am
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia Country: Somalia preview


(Mogadishu, 2 September 2014): I am deeply concerned by the serious deterioration in the food security situation in Somalia. The new assessment findings by the Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit and the Famine Early Warning Systems Network reflect a significant decline, owing to a lethal mix of drought, surging food prices and conflict.

Over 1 million people in Somalia face acute food insecurity today, up by 20 per cent from 857,000 six months ago. This brings the total number of people in need of humanitarian assistance or livelihood support to over 3 million. After gradual rebuilding of livelihoods since the 2011 famine that cost over a quarter of a million lives in excess mortality, fragile gains are now being eroded and malnutrition rates are again on the rise. Coping capacities are severely stretched and vulnerable families risk being pushed further into destitution.

As many as 218,000 acutely malnourished children under the age of 5 require emergency nutrition supplement, access to clean water, and better hygiene; 43,800 children are so severely malnourished that they will die if they do not receive medical treatment and therapeutic food.

In response to the unfolding crisis, owing to contributions of donors, humanitarian partners have been able to step up efforts to urgently address the most critical needs across the country. Aid organizations began using air cargo flights to areas with no road access. However, it is simply not sufficient to deliver the volume of humanitarian assistance required. Securing road access for commercial and humanitarian supplies in addition to having more resources is tantamount to the sustained delivery.

Concerted efforts are urgently required to save lives and prevent a free fall. As we enter the last third of the year, more than half a billion US dollars are still required for life-saving activities. Decisive measures will be required to ensure that we do not jeopardize the people of Somalia's chance to enjoy a more safe, stable and prosperous outlook.

For further information on the assessment results please contact: Frank Nyakairu, Communications Officer, UN Food and Agriculture Organization, (frank.nyakairu@fao.org / +254 786 399311).

To reach the HC in Somalia, please contact: Cecilia Attefors, Communications Officer, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, (attefors@un.org / +252 618960006). To access the FSNAU technical release, log onto www.fsnau.org