AFRICA/SOMALIA - Impending famine: Church relief organization calls for immediate action

Friday, 28 October 2022

Mogadishu (Agenzia Fides) - "What we are seeing is devastating, people are suffering, children are dying. Hunger is claiming more and more victims. The alarm bells have been ringing for months, but the international community and governments have not responded adequately. How many people have to die before the world acts?" reads a statement from the Irish Catholic charity Trócaire, a member of Caritas Internationalis.
"Immediate action must be taken without waiting for the famine to be officially declared," said Paul Haley, director of Trocaire Somalia, appealing to the entire international community.
The situation in the country has been aggravated in many places by the conflict (see Fides 04/08/2022) and rising food prices, partly due to the war in Ukraine and reduced supplies from neighboring countries. Women are bearing the brunt of the food crisis as they are forced to reduce their own food consumption for the sake of their children. Equally dramatic is the situation of younger girls who drop out of school, putting themselves at greater risk of early marriage and female genital mutilation. "amine has practically already started and will only get worse in the coming months unless immediate action is taken", Healy said, stressing the need for the international community to intervene to improve the situation across the country.
"The number of malnourished children at Dollow Referral Health Center has tripled in recent months. Our stabilization units are full. In addition, the situation in Somalia could get worse in the near future as a large part of the country faces what is expected to be a fifth missed rainy season ", the appeal continues.
At least 7.1 million people in Somalia are unable to meet their food needs and are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. According to the World Food Program (WFP) in August 2022, more than 200,000 people suffer from chronic hunger. The United Nations estimates that 1.5 million children under the age of five suffer from acute malnutrition, and 386,000 of them are at "high risk of disease and death". (AP) (Agenzia Fides, 28/10/2022)