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IGAD : World must act now to avert humanitarian disaster in the Horn of Africa

By Tajuddin
Sep 15th, 2014

Famine in Somalia

Nairobi (DIPLOMAT.SO)- The Executive Secretary of the Intergovernmental Authority (IGAD), Ambassador (Eng) Mahboub Maalim, and the United Nations Assistant Secretary-General of Humanitarian Affairs, Ms. Kyung-Wha Kang, urged the regional governments and the international community to act now to avert a looming humanitarian disaster in the Horn of Africa.

The food shortage situation in Somalia and South Sudan as a result of drought and violence and conflict has had serious consequences for food and nutrition situation for large sections of the population. This coupled with an on-going conflict in both countries, lower than usual rains in Somalia, poor vegetation cover and poor animal health, and hiking of prices and limited access by humanitarian agencies, is pushing these countries to closer to an impending worrisome food security and malnutrition situation.

Despite early warning indicators, there appears to be inadequate to potential impact of these on lives and livelihoods, and this could impact negatively on the fragile peace in Somalia and South Sudan.

From an IGAD Fact-finding mission, reports from different reliable sources indicate that the situation in South Sudan is desperate: 7 out of 12.9 million people are food insure, 3.9 million are severely food insecure, with 1.2 million already at the risk of famine (if violence continues), and 50,000 children at a risk of dying from starvation. Appeal is 28% funded.

Somalia: over 1 million people are in an emergency situation; 218,000 children under the age of 5 are acutely malnourished. Out of the $933 million appeal, less than one third has been raised. “The current extent of the problem is being compared to the situation in 2011”, said the Executive Secretary of IGAD.
“Displacement in Horn of Africa stand at an estimated 6.8 million people and 14 million people are food insecure, yet funding has remained at half of the Appeal”, added Ms. Kang.

Both IGAD and the UN are urging the donor community and governments of the region to urgently scale up response to avert a humanitarian disaster.

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