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UN warns of deteriorating humanitarian situation in Somalia

Security concerns persist in Somalia

Mogadishu, Somalia | Xinhua | The United Nations top relief official in Somalia warned on Tuesday the humanitarian situation in Somalia remains extremely serious and called for sustained and improved assistance to avert famine.

Adam Abdelmoula, Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General, Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia said joint efforts and the scale-up of humanitarian assistance to respond to the impact of the longest and most severe drought in Somalia’s recent history has prevented famine thresholds from being surpassed, for the time being.

“All indicators point to one conclusion: humanitarian assistance must be sustained and improved to prevent further loss of life and suffering,” Abdelmoula said in a statement issued in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia.

He said the humanitarian assistance must be sustained over time and improved, as famine is a strong possibility from April to June 2023 and beyond if assistance is not sustained and if April to June 2023 rains underperform as current forecasts indicate.

The UN official said the collective scale-up of humanitarian assistance, including Somali capacities, has prevented food insecurity and acute malnutrition from reaching Famine.

According to the UN, earlier projections of famine between October and December among rural agro-pastoralists in Baidoa and Buur Hakaba districts and displaced people in Baidoa town in the Bay Region have not materialized, but the underlying crisis has not improved, and even more, appalling outcomes are only temporarily averted.

These same populations, it said, remain extremely vulnerable, with Mogadishu IDPs joining their ranks.

The UN said prolonged and extreme conditions have resulted in higher-than-normal deaths, and excess mortality will continue to accumulate unless assistance is further scaled up and sustained in crucial sectors.

“Together we have averted famine, albeit temporarily. We can and must make sure that this becomes a sustained reality for the people of Somalia,” Abdelmoula said, adding that even without a famine declaration, the situation is extremely alarming.

Abdelmoula said the scale and severity of the emergency are expanding as displacement continues unabated, food and water prices remain high, critical gaps in the response persist and the current rains have been poor and insufficient for replenishing water sources and sustaining grazing fields for livestock.

The number of people affected by the drought in Somalia has more than doubled this year, from 3.2 million in January to 7.8 million in October, with the severity of needs increasing proportionately.

According to the UN, displacement caused by drought increased more than fivefold to almost 1.3 million people in the same period. ■

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