In 2011, the United Nations declared a famine in numerous parts of Somalia. The 2011 famine in Somalia took the lives of 260,000 due to malnutrition, hunger and disease. Aid organizations are warning that signs of a drought are resurfacing in Somalia and cautioning that these signs cannot be ignored.
Thanks to improving conditions in Somalia, the people in need of aid has decreased from 4 million to 2.9 million. Yet, the improved situation is now at risk of relapsing because of high food prices, inadequate funding, lack of a rainy season, displacement and conflict.
Fighting between Shebab militants, international forces and the government have driven thousands to Mogadishu, where the displaced civilians live in makeshift housing.
There are still about 2.9 million people in need of live-saving assistance as well as over 300,000 malnourished children in Somalia. The number will probably increase as conditions worsen. Aid agencies are requesting immediate support in the next few months to avoid a relapse to the 2011 famine in Somalia.
Without immediate funding, aid programs could be shut down, even despite the rise of famished people in the conflict-ridden country. The 1.1 million internally displaced people would be hit the hardest.
In 2011, it took 16 warnings and a declaration of famine before sufficient funding was made available. This time, eight warnings of a probable famine in Somalia have been released since January 2014. Earlier in July, the United Nations warned that the food crisis was expected to escalate into the “emergency phase” in Mogadishu, one phase below famine.
It is essential that leaders continue to support humanitarian and developmental work in Somalia by providing sufficient funding.
Director of Somalia NGO Consortium, Tanja Schuemer, stated that the improvements made since 2011 cannot be lost due to the world losing interest in Somalia as a priority.
“Most affected people are still recovering from the massive losses of the 2011 drought and famine. This time, we must not fail the people of Somalia,” states Francois Batalingaya, World Vision’s Country Director for Somalia.
– Colleen Moore