Millions face starvation in Somalia


More than one million people in Somalia are facing starvation due to a poor rainy season that has now been followed by floods which are wrecking havoc in the Horn of Africa nation.

To avert a major disaster, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is appealing for $49 million to help the country which in 2011 experienced a devastating famine that claimed over 250,000 people.

According to FAO, more than one million people are in urgent need of assistance, a rise of 20 per cent in just six months, while another two million people are experiencing threats to their food security.

Much of Somalia’s agriculture takes place along the Juba and Shebelle rivers, the only perennial streams in Somalia. They originate in Ethiopia, where over 90 per cent of the stream flow is generated and experts fear that swells of floodwaters will ruin the crops.

“We have a small and critical window of opportunity. We must seize it now if we want to avoid going the same way as four years ago,” said Luca Alinovi, acting Head of Office, FAO Somalia.

With resources currently available, FAO will be able to assist 35,000 families (some 210,000 people) throughout the current Deyr – the country’s second annual rainy season – which is being used to support livestock redistribution, expand livestock vaccination drives, provide fishing and agricultural inputs and extend cash-for-work programs.

As part of its current activities, FAO is distributing vouchers to close to 22,500 families for the purchase of some 4,000 tonnes of locally-sourced seeds to help farmers produce a better January harvest.

But another $49 million is needed to extend assistance to a total of 58,000 at-risk households (some 350,000 people) and continue to support those families throughout the first half of 2015.

SOURCE

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)


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