SOMALIA is on the verge of famine, according to a new food-security report from the United Nations.
The UN said that while Somalia has not yet fallen into famine, several parts of the country are in danger of it in the coming months in what it predicts would be the worst seen on the Horn of Africa in decades.
Tuesday’s report says that more than eight million people in Somalia are badly food insecure.
The UN says the country faces an unprecedented level of need after five consecutive failed rainy seasons and exceptionally high food prices.
The report warns that famine is projected between April and June next year in two parts of Somalia’s south-western Bay region and among displaced people in the town of Baidoa and the capital, Mogadishu.
But the Norwegian Refugee Council said: “Famine is already present and is silently killing tens of thousands of people in Somalia.”
The last famine in the country in 2011 killed over a quarter of a million people.
Insecurity caused by the al-Shabab extremist group is limiting access to hungry people and its fighters have destroyed water wells and food sources in retaliation for military losses.
Meanwhile, food and fuel prices have soared and crops have suffered, making food even more scarce for the months to come.
Islamic Relief director Aliow Mohamed told reporters how last month he met a heavily pregnant woman who had walked barefoot for a week with two of her seven children.
They didn’t eat on the journey and hoped to survive in the camps by begging until they could be formally registered for aid; registering can take a week, he said.
He said: “When they come, they just sleep on the ground, no shelter for them, no water for them, no food for them, no health.
The morning Star