15 February 2017

East Africa: Global Charity Group Warns of Famine in Somalia

Photo: UN Photo/Stuart Price
(file photo).

Mogadishu — An international charity on Tuesday warned of a potential famine in parts of Somalia without funding to support millions of food insecure people.

CARE International said consecutive droughts over the last two years, exacerbated by one of the strongest El Nino events ever recorded, have completely depleted people's food supplies and killed their livestock.

"We are observing the same warning signs that preceded the famine in Somalia six years ago," CARE's Country Director in Somalia Raheel Nazir Chaudhary warned in a statement

Despite repeated early warnings in 2011, the response to that crisis was too slow, and more than 260,000 people have died, according to the statement.

The charity said prices for livestock, families' main income, have plunged by 70-85 percent, while prices for water and food have skyrocketed.

In some areas, the price for a barrel of water has risen from 2 U.S. dollars before the drought to 10 dollars today.

"A threefold increase in water costs means it is out of reach for a vast majority of households. We are already seeing people spending half their income on water and many families are forced to migrate in search for food and pasture," Chaudhary said.

According to CARE's latest assessments in Somalia, families have to sell goats for 15 dollars whereas they could earn 70 dollars before the drought.

"The forecasts are bleak. If it won't rain in the coming months, famine will become a possibility in Somalia. We need funding now to prevent families from tipping over the edge into severe hunger," Chaudhary said.

Xinhua

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