The United Nations reported today that three areas in Somalia which were declared to be in a state of famine earlier this year have emerged from the dire food crisis as a result of scaled-up relief delivery, but warned that the situation remains critical for millions of people in the Horn of Africa country.
The UN Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit for Somalia said that the situation had improved in the affected areas in the southern regions of Bay, Bakool and Lower Shabelle and they were no longer famine zones.
However, UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, Mark Bowden, said that famine persists in parts of the Middle Shabelle and in the Afgooye corridor, near the capital, Mogadishu, which hosts a large number of internally displaces persons (IDPs).
Valerie Amos, the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, said in a statement that “progress is fragile and needs to be sustained.”
“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 Ms. Amos, who is also the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator.
Insecurity, looting and other forms of violence, high malnutrition rates and disease means that the humanitarian community needs to remain focused on the best ways to scale up the relief effort next year, she said.
“We need the international community to continue to generously support the vital work we and our partners are doing.
“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,” she added.
A severe drought ravaged the Horn of Africa earlier this year causing food shortages that claimed the lives of tens of thousands of people in Somalia and brought more than 3.2 million others on the brink of starvation.
A significant scale-up of relief efforts helped reach 2.2 million affected people, giving them access to food and water.