6 March 2018

Somalia: Charity Calls for Increased Humanitarian Aid to Avert Famine in Somalia

An International charity organization on Monday called on donors to increase humanitarian aid to help avert famine in Somalia where the lives of some 2.7 million people are at risk.

In a statement issued on the eve of London for Somalia humanitarian conference, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) warned that half a million people today are on the brink of famine.

"The international community saved thousands of lives in Somalia last year and helped stop a famine before it could happen. But less humanitarian aid now threatens to throw the country back into a deeper crisis, even towards catastrophe," NRC Regional Director Nigel Tricks said in a statement.

The focus of the High-Level Event for the Humanitarian Situation in Somalia is to draw attention to the humanitarian crisis in Somalia and generate political and financial momentum for the 2018 humanitarian response and recovery.

The Tuesday event will bring together senior decision makers and partners to agree on how to plan and fund the 2018 humanitarian response, address priority gaps, review lessons from the successful 2017 famine prevention response and how these can be applied to best effect in 2018.

According to the charity, while the country dodged famine last year, 2.7 million people today are living in what the UN describes as the crisis or emergency phases of hunger.

"Aid works, as humanitarian aid saved countless lives in Somalia last year, but 2018 promises a new year of crisis. Somalia's forecast includes continued drought for several regions this year," Tricks said.

"Without a focused effort by government and the international community to maintain support for Somalis at risk, thousands of people may be pushed back over the edge," he warned.

According to the statement, the humanitarian community seeks 1.5 billion U.S. dollars for programs to sustain and rebuild the drought and conflict-stricken country in 2018 with focus on drought.

A catastrophe was averted last year as donors, governments and agencies heeded crisis warnings, and acted quickly to help hold off another famine. This year the situation is urgent as 5.4 million Somalis will need humanitarian aid.

According to the statement, more than 300,000 children under age five are acutely malnourished, including 48,000 severely malnourished children who face an increased risk of death.

Some 1.1 million people fled their homes due to drought and conflict last year in Somalia, adding to the one million people who were already displaced within the country from previous years.

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