FAO asks for $4 million to save Somalis from severe drought and hunger

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Food and Agriculture Organization [FAO] now says the severe drought has exposed the lives of millions of Somalis and livestock, noting that failure to handle the crisis, several people could struggle with hunger in coming months.

In a statement, FAO noted that the Horn of Africa nation had not received rains for the last three seasons, adding that this could put at risk the lives of at least 3.5 million people within Somalia, who are already struggling.

The United Nations [UN] body said it needs at  $4 million to solve the crisis, which could take lives of many people and their livestock. Gedo region of Jubaland has been identified as the epicenter of the crisis. 

“FAO urgently requires USD2.35 million to protect pastoralist assets through livestock treatment for 15 million animals and USD1.8 million to meet the food needs of 12,500 rural households in southern Somalia,” read the statement..

“FAO  emergency response in Somalia saves lives and livelihoods by providing cash transfers to vulnerable rural 

households to meet immediate food needs, while providing critically needed supplementary livestock feed, water and 

treatment to pastoral communities.”

According to FAO, the severe drought conditions come at a time when an estimated 3.5 million Somalis already face acute food insecurity, and the number of severely malnourished children is also on the rise. 

The drought conditions, it adds, triggered by failed rains have already destroyed crops and killed livestock. Farmers and herders are forced to walk increasingly long distances in search of pasture and water, and the drought has had a devastating impact on their  lives and livelihoods.

Some pastoral communities in Juba and Galmadug regions have already been displaced and are making their way to towns and IDP camps after losing most of their livestock. In addition, the persistent drought conditions have contributed to rapidly declining household purchasing power.

The global body noted that the situation is worsening as international prices reached a ten year high in October with imported rice prices in northern and central Somalia up by 50 percent and the prices of maize and sorghum up 30-60 percent in southern markets due to low supply.

“With current weather forecasts and persistent conflict present in parts of the country, food insecurity is projected to 

worsen significantly through May 2022, with many families expected to experience increased hunger and erosion of their capacity to cope with these multiple crises,” FAO said. 

Without urgent and scaled up support to the communities in these affected regions, FAO added, the situation will likely deteriorate further in the first half of 2022. The increasing humanitarian needs are coming at the end of an already challenging year. 

“The impact of the worsening drought on vulnerable rural populations is extremely worrying. Without rapid action by 

all actors, rural communities will face difficult choices in coming months as they become unable to feed their families,”said FAO Representative Etienne Peterschmitt. 

“in 2017 we were able to avert a devastating crisis in Somalia as a 

result of early action at scale thanks to substantial and timely commitments by resource partners. We must not forget these lessons now.”

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