Somalia: Increased humanitarian assistance lifts some areas out of famine

18 Nov 2011

Women and children wait to receive a cooked meal at a food distribution organized by WFP near the port in Mogadishu, Somalia. Photo by Kate Holt/IRIN
Scale-up of emergency response has had a significant impact, but nearly 250,000 people still face imminent starvation.

Data from the Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU) and the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) in southern Somalia showed that scaled-up humanitarian assistance has had a significant impact on parts of Bay, Bakool and Lower Shabelle regions.

Famine, however, still persists in parts of Middle Shabelle, along the Afgooye corridor and among internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Mogadishu. Despite the increase in humanitarian efforts since famine was declared in July, the country continues to face the largest humanitarian crisis in the world, with 4 million people still in need of urgent assistance.

“While humanitarian agencies have helped bring food, nutrition, water and sanitation help to millions of people in the last few months, I remain extremely concerned by the critical situation in Mogadishu and other parts of south and central Somalia,” said Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos.
According to FSNAU and FEWS NET, famine will persist through the end of this year in Middle Shabelle and Afgooye, and among IDPs in Mogadishu. The death rate, especially among young children, is expected to remain high due to outbreaks of measles, cholera and malaria.

“We need to make sure that those most in need get help, and we must also continue to look at ways of building the resilience of communities and families so that they are better equipped to deal with the impact of drought and extreme food insecurity in the future,” added Ms. Amos.  

A recent increase in insecurity and military operations threatens to lead to more internal displacement at a time when people need to plant their crops. This potentially could reduce aid organizations’ ability to provide life-saving assistance to people in need.

Click here to read ERC Valerie Amos' Statement on the Humanitarian Situation in Somalia.