UN seeks $1.6 billion to 'protect millions of Somali lives' as famine looms

UN seeks $1.6 billion to 'protect millions of Somali lives' as famine looms
The UN says it needs $1.6 billion to protect 5.4 million people from the effects of famine, as conditions forecast to worsen.
2 min read
18 January, 2018
Famine and violence has caused an instability crisis in Somalia [AFP]
The United Nations is seeking $1.6 billions of aid to “protect millions of lives from drought” in Somalia as the food security situation in the East African country continues to deteriorate.

The UN’s office in Somalia said on Wednesday that it is launching the 2018 humanitarian response plan to alleviate dire conditions, which calls for $1.6 billion to safeguard the lives of 5.4 million people.

“I am proud that we averted a possible famine last year. Lasting solutions, however, out of our reach, and much more must be done to eliminate the looming threat of famine in this country,” Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, Peter de Clercq said in the Somali capital of Mogadishu.

But de Clercq warned that alleviation projects can only alleviate civilians stuck in the Somalia crisis in the short term and called for more sustainable solutions for the country.

“If we do not continue to save lives and in parallel build resilience, then we have only delayed a famine, not prevented one,” he urged.

At the start of last year, conditions for Somalia gradually worsened, as its climate, which is susceptible to drought, was heading towards famine. 

By the beginning of March 2017, Somali Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire announced that 110 people had died in the space of two days as a result of hunger and diarrhoea.

Officials in Mogadishu have since then warned of an ever-increasing famine crisis. In 2017, displacement reached unparalleled levels, with needs for food security nearly doubling the five-year average. 

The number of Somalis classed as being on the brink of famine has increased tenfold since the beginning of 2017. An estimated 1.2 million children are forecasted to be malnourished in 2018, 232,000 of whom will endure life-threatening severe acute malnutrition.