SABC News - Not enough funds to fight persisting hunger in Somalia: WFP:Wednesday 31 May 2017

Not enough funds to fight persisting hunger in Somalia: WFP

Wednesday 31 May 2017 21:50

REUTERS

The World Food Programme is feeding about 2.3 million people right now per day but funds are short.

The World Food Programme is feeding about 2.3 million people right now per day but funds are short.(SABC)

The World Food Programme is urging for more funding to fight the deepening hunger and nutrition crisis in Somalia where more than half the 12 million population are need of aid and the country risks a repeat of famine that killed hundreds of thousands of people just six years ago.  

It is a desperate situation. The World Food Programme is feeding about 2.3 million people right now per day but funds are short and if we do not receive the funds we need, we are talking about a situation that will be potentially much worse than the famine that took place in 2010, 2011 and 2012 when 260,000 people died and literally half of those died before the famine was declared.

We're looking at multiples much worse than that with the numbers that we are seeing now so, we need the money and we need it now.

Poor rains, disease outbreaks, widespread livestock deaths and the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people by drought is making the food and nutrition situation in Somalia far worse, the U.N. World Food Programme says.

   The U.N. says more than half the 12 million population need aid. A similar drought in 2011, exacerbated by years of civil war, sparked the world's last famine, which killed 260,000 people.

   Now the country teeters on the brink again.

   At a camp in Dolow, a Somali town on the Ethiopian border, international aid agencies are helping families fleeing the devastating drought.

   They are issued with electronic cash vouchers, introduced to give the holder a choice of rations and to diversify diets.
   The vouchers are topped up and can be used at selected retail shops; this also helps boost economic activity within host communities.

   Abdiyo Sharif Adan has eight children. They left their village in search of food and now live in Qansale camp in Dolow.

   "I've been here for four months; since drought displaced us.

When I first moved in, WFP gave me this card. This is the only source of income we have.

We don't have jobs; we do not have any other help other than this card and this morning my card was topped up.

I redeemed it and I've used it to buy food, she said.

   WFP says despite large-scale assistance that has helped improve conditions for many, a growing number of people are still facing severe hunger, and malnutrition is worsening especially among mothers and children.

   It estimates that some 363,000 children under the age of five are malnourished in Somalia, including 71,000 who need urgent medical care and are at high risk of disease and death.

   In some areas, more than 30% of children under five are malnourished, double the threshold for an emergency.

   "It is a desperate situation.

The World Food Programme is feeding about 2.3 million people right now per day but funds are short and if we do not receive the funds we need, we are talking about a situation that will be potentially much worse than the famine that took place in 2010, 2011 and 2012 when 260,000 people died and literally half of those died before the famine was declared.

We're looking at multiples much worse than that with the numbers that we are seeing now, so we need the money and we need it now," said WFP executive director, David Beasley.  

   The programme says it urgently needs 297 million US dollars from June through November this year adding that without new contributions, 700,000 people will miss their daily meals as early as June and up to 1.2 million women and children will not receive special nutritious food assistance.

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