AFRICA/SOMALIA - Appeal by Trocaire and other humanitarian NGOs: "Act now to save millions of Somalis from hunger"

Wednesday, 16 February 2022

Mogadishu (Agenzia Fides) - In Somalia, one and a half million children, almost half of the population under five, are at risk of suffering from acute malnutrition due to the drought that has affected more than four million people. This is according to the Somalia Food Security and Nutrition Assessment released by UNICEF last week, which indicates that about a quarter of the 1.4 million children affected by food shortages, or 329,500 children, are at risk of dying if they do not receive specific treatment for severe acute malnutrition. UNICEF Somalia Communications Officer Victor Chinyama has also sounded the alarm over the lack of clean drinking water which is endangering the health of millions of Somalis. The lack of water has caused epidemics of infectious diseases, such as measles and cholera. The humanitarian catastrophe is due to three consecutive seasons of drought, which have aggravated a situation already compromised by conflicts in several regions of the country. The impact on pastoral communities is particularly severe. Water shortages have forced families to migrate to urban centers, adding to the 2.9 million people already displaced by conflict and climate change. Since November last year, the price of water in some of the worst affected areas has increased by up to 72%. The most vulnerable displaced people, especially women and girls, face violence and exploitation, while children are at risk of abduction and recruitment by armed groups, such as al-Shabaab. "An immediate effort by the international community is needed", said Trocaire, Ireland's Caritas, whose team carried out an assessment mission in the Luuq district of Gedo, south-central Somalia, where Trocaire runs the main health facility. Trocaire recalls that "on December 23, humanitarian partners released the 2022 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) for Somalia, requesting $1.46 billion to assist 5.5 million of the most vulnerable people". "So far, less than 2% of the funds needed have come from donors. The Somali NGO Consortium, of which Trocaire is a member, urges donors to act quickly to avert disaster. The international community must listen and act now". (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 16/2/2022)