Egypt's Banque Misr seen launching its first digital bank by May-end    Swvl to invest $20 million in Egyptian market this year    Gold prices in Egypt on May 19    Egypt to inaugurate new Sphinx International Airport in mid-July    Turkey's finance minister to visit Egypt for first time in 9 years    Finland and Sweden formally apply to join NATO alliance    Saudi Arabia prolongs Yemen central bank's deposit    Egypt Knauf launches its first training centre in Egypt    Egypt uncovers official logo for COP27    Noura Al-Mutair – first Gulf female boxer in World Championships    Egypt unveils 50 pound coin minted to mark Avenue of Sphinxes grand reopening    Liverpool fans: "You'll Never Walk Alone" to Cristiano Ronaldo    Hot, rainy weather hits Egypt this week    COVID-19 in Egypt: infections fall to 124 cases last week    Egypt to play key role in integrating water, climate issues globally – World Bank official    Egypt's telecoms regulator announces working hours for holy month of Ramadan    Maha karara joins AAIB as Head of Corporate Communications, Sustainability    Egypt works on charting cooperation strategies with international institutions for 5 years: Al-Mashat    Over 2.4 million newborns examined for hearing impairment: Health Ministry    Netflix releases trailer of Arab adaption of 'Perfect Strangers' film    Balqees to headline concert celebrating launch of streaming giant LIVENow in MENA    Sawsan Badr to be honoured at Aswan Women Film Festival    MP Abdel Hady Al-Qasby calls government to facilitate and support NGOs    Al-Sisi follows up on 'Great Transfiguration Project' in St. Catherine    Cairo, London stress need to strengthen cooperation to face climate change    Foreigners account for 22.6% of Egypt's T-bills issuances in 1H 2021: CBE    Egypt's ambassador to Italy passes away    Egypt confirms readiness to help African countries face terrorism and extremism    An estimated 235 million people needed humanitarian assistance and protection in 2021, an increase of 40% compared to 2020: IOM Egypt    Egypt, DRC discuss water cooperation during WYF    Egypt, DR Congo discuss boosting bilateral cooperation during WYF    Cameroonian police probe assault on three Algerian journalists covering AFCON    Pharaohs start AFCON 2021 campaign with fierce clash against Nigeria    Foreign Ministry opens capacity building course for French-speaking African diplomats    Egypt's trade with Nile basin countries climbs 26% y-o-y in 9 months    Ethiopia halts work at its embassy in Egypt for 'economic reasons'    Russia says it's in sync with US, China, Pakistan on Taliban    It's a bit frustrating to draw at home: Real Madrid keeper after Villarreal game    Shoukry reviews with Guterres Egypt's efforts to achieve SDGs, promote human rights    Sudan says countries must cooperate on vaccines    Johnson & Johnson: Second shot boosts antibodies and protection against COVID-19    Egypt to tax bloggers, YouTubers    Egypt's FM asserts importance of stability in Libya, holding elections as scheduled    We mustn't lose touch: Muller after Bayern win in Bundesliga    Egypt records 36 new deaths from Covid-19, highest since mid June    Egypt sells $3 bln US-dollar dominated eurobonds    Gamal Hanafy's ceramic exhibition at Gezira Arts Centre is a must go    Italian Institute Director Davide Scalmani presents activities of the Cairo Institute for ITALIANA.IT platform    







Thank you for reporting!
This image will be automatically disabled when it gets reported by several people.



UN declares famine in two regions of southern Somalia
Published in Bikya Masr on 20 - 07 - 2011

The United Nations today declared a famine in two regions of southern Somalia owing to the worst drought in decades, and appealed for urgent resources to assist millions of people in desperate need of help.
“Every day of delay in assistance is literally a matter of life or death for children and their families in the famine-affected areas,” said Mark Bowden, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia.
Famine is declared when acute malnutrition rates among children exceed 30 percent, more than two people per every 10,000 die per day, and people are not able to access food and other basic necessities, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
Mr. Bowden warned that malnutrition rates in Somalia are currently the highest in the world, with peaks of 50 percent in certain areas of the country's south.
In the two regions of southern Bakool and Lower Shabelle in southern Somalia, acute malnutrition rates are above 30 percent, with deaths among children under the age of five exceeding six per 10,000 per day in some areas. In the last few months, tens of thousands of Somalis have died as a result of causes related to malnutrition, the majority of them children.
Consecutive droughts have affected the country in the last few years while the ongoing conflict has made it extremely difficult for agencies to operate and access communities in the south. Nearly half of the Somali population – 3.7 million people – are now estimated to be in crisis, with an estimated 2.8 million of them in the south.
“If we don't act now, famine will spread to all eight regions of southern Somalia within two months, due to poor harvests and infectious disease outbreaks,” said Bowden.
“We still do not have all the resources for food, clean water, shelter and health services to save the lives of hundreds of thousands of Somalis in desperate need,” he added.
While UN humanitarian agencies have welcomed the recent statement by the insurgent group Al-Shabaab requesting international assistance in southern Somalia, the inability of food agencies to work in the region since early 2010 has prevented the UN from reaching the very hungry – especially children – and has contributed to the current crisis.
Despite challenges, humanitarian agencies are working hard to respond and have scaled up efforts in recent weeks. To expedite the delivery of supplies into the worst-affected areas, the UN has started airlifting urgently needed medical, nutrition and water supplies.
The Executive Director of the UN World Food Programme (WFP), Josette Sheeran, said today that her agency is considering a number of options to ensure that food aid reaches the most vulnerable, including airlifting high-energy biscuits and highly nutritious supplementary foods – for vulnerable children and pregnant or nursing mothers – into strategic locations in the south, where they would be distributed by local organizations.
Plans to mobilize supplementary food products for children in response to the broader Horn of Africa drought crisis could make this the biggest ever operation to deliver these products that are highly effective in treating malnutrition in the first 1,000 days of life, the agency added.
“Operations in Somalia are among the highest risk in the world, and WFP has lost 14 relief workers there since 2008,” Sheeran noted. “We will aggressively pursue efforts to mitigate against risk, through robust assessments and monitoring, but I am calling on all sides to stand together in recognising the inevitable risks that will be present in southern Somalia.”
Sheeran, who is in Ethiopia holding high-level meetings with Government officials and the African Union (AU), will travel to Somalia and Kenya in the coming days to visit drought-affected areas, review WFP operations, and speak to victims of the drought.
Joining her on the visit to Kenya will be Jacques Diouf, the Director-General of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), which will convene an emergency meeting in Rome on Monday to address the escalating crisis in the Horn of Africa and mobilize international support.
“Hundreds of people are dying every day and if we do not act now many more will perish,” said Diouf. “We must avert a human tragedy of vast proportions.
“As much as food assistance is needed now, we also have to scale up investments in sustainable immediate and medium-term interventions that help farmers and their families to protect their assets and continue to produce food,” he added.
UN agencies have asked for $1.6 billion to pay for essential programmes in the Horn of Africa, but have only received half that amount. Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia and Djibouti are all facing a crisis that is being called the worst in 50 years, leaving an estimated 11 million people in need of humanitarian assistance.
BM/UN


Clic here to read the story from its source.