Somalia on the brink of a humanitarian crisis

A young girl sits on a jerry can, as her mother fills up another with water, near the town of Jowhar, Somalia. (Photo Credit: UN Photo/Tobin Jones)

A girl sits on a jerry can, as her mother fills up another with water, near the town of Jowhar, Somalia. (Photo Credit: UN Photo/Tobin Jones)

Despite the gains Somalia has made in recovering from the devastating drought in 2011, failing rains, high food prices, ongoing conflict, and poor sanitation are pushing Somalia again to the brink of a crisis. At the same time, resources for the country are “critically low”, according to UN. So far in 2014, the Strategic Response Plan for Somalia has received only 15 per cent of the $933 million requested – a shortfall of $790 million.

The International Rescue Committee and 21 other humanitarian organizations – including Oxfam, Save the Children, Danish Refugee Council, Care International, World Vision, and the Norwegian Refugee Council – urged the international community not to forget about Somalia as attention turns to other crises. More than 250,000 people are estimated to have died during the famine and food crisis in Somalia in 2010-12, the worst famine of the past 25 years. Half of those who died were children under five. Today, 857,000 Somalis are considered to be in “crisis and emergency” conditions and 2 million Somalis are under food security “stress.”

Jowhar IDP Camp in Somalia

Even if the figures have improved, the statistics do not look too bright and “unless funding gaps are filled, there is a risk that people still in need will not be reached and those already helped will fall back into crisis.”

Currently 50,000 children are severely malnourished and at death’s door, according to the report released this month by the 22 humanitarian organizations. The ongoing conflict has left some 1.1 million people displaced within their own country. About 70% of the population does not have access to drinking water and fewer 1 in 4 people have access to adequate sanitation facilities. The situation in the country could worsen in the coming months, especially if funding shortages force essential projects to shut down, the report warns.

Soldiers of the Kenyan Contingent serving with the African Union Mission in Somalia in the southern Somali port city of Kismayo.


Categories: Highlights

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