Global organization calls for urgent investment as famine prevention funding stalls
MOGADISHU, SOMALIA – Facing a crushing and continuing drought, Somalia needs urgent investment if it is to avoid another humanitarian crisis, warns the global organization Mercy Corps. The three-year drought blighting the country has claimed thousands of lives, displaced more than two million people and worsened the spread of cholera and measles outbreaks.
Somalia narrowly avoided famine in 2017. Roughly a year after the declaration of a state of emergency by President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, the country remains on the brink of a humanitarian disaster.
“The April rains are expected to be below average so there’s a real threat of famine in the hardest hit areas. Aid agencies are struggling to keep pace,” says Daud Adan, Somalia Country Director for Mercy Corps. “The situation in parts of Puntland and Somaliland remains dire, with most people suffering from acute malnutrition. They are at stage 4 on the IPC scale; stage 5 is famine. The situation is grave and the need could not be more urgent.”
According to the United Nations, $717 million is required between January and June 2018 to sustain famine-prevention efforts in Somalia. But after four months, Somalia has received just $271 million.
“We narrowly avoided a disaster last year and yet, just four months into 2018, famine prevention funding is already woefully behind target,” says Adan. “Millions of Somalis are living on the brink, and for them, this funding could be the difference between life and death. A humanitarian crisis is not inevitable; we can avert it if the international community wakes up to the scale of the suffering.”
In Somalia, a country of just over 12 million people, half need humanitarian assistance, with one in six people having been uprooted from their homes.
Mercy Corps has worked in Somalia since 2005 and has helped more than 1 million Somalis by improving access to food and clean water, supporting local markets and providing education and civic opportunities for young people. Mercy Corps’ emergency drought response reaches 190,000 Somalis across the country.
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