A major humanitarian crisis is looming in Somalia due to prolonged drought, the United Nations and Non Governmental organizations working in Somalia have warned.
The lack of so-called "long rains", which usually sweep East Africa between March and May, has caused crop failures across the region.
Two million Somalis are at risk of starvation unless they get emergency aid.
The national and international agencies operating in the country under the umbrella of the Somalia NGO Consortium, said that reduced access to safe water and growing food insecurity is already putting at risk the lives of millions Somali populations.
They called for an immediate and scaled up response to the growing humanitarian needs in the country. "The number of people facing acute food shortages is increasing, but we are yet to see strong commitments and unified efforts to save lives. This is very concerning," said Nasra Ismail, Director of Somalia NGO consortium. "We must strengthen our efforts and increase resources in responding to the needs of families and minimize human suffering," she added.
The warning is in response to the release of the Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU) and FEWS NET report issued in April, 2019 that warned of a worsening food security situation in the country.
The report confirmed that at least 1.7 million people are now estimated to be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and Emergency (IPC Phase 4) between April and June 2019 - a 10 percent increase from the initial estimates made in February up until June 2019.
The total number of people who do not have access to sufficient food has also increased from 4.6 to 4.9 million people which is at least 40% of the total population. "Most families were yet to recover from previous droughts and with critically low rainfall this season we will likely see increased vulnerability for many to renewed risks that we may not have seen before.
Without an urgently scaled-up response, the impact of this drought will be severe," said Ismail. "Our priority is to save lives and prevent the situation from deteriorating even further. We can only do this by investing more resources towards drought response interventions," she added.
Although most parts of the country has received moderate to heavy rains this week, this year's Gu rains ( April-June) are too late and too little to make an impact in food availability