Monday August 2, 2021
By ABDULKADIR KHALIF
Displaced Somalis queue for food-aid rations at a distribution centre in the capital Mogadishu on January 19, 2012. PHOTO | AFP
Somalia has raised the alarm over a food shortage that has hit the country this season, affecting at least six million people.
Officials from the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management said on Saturday that a humanitarian crisis is looming in the country.
After a joint meeting with line officials in the federal states, the ministry said it needs urgent aid delivered to more than a third of the country’s population that it said is at risk of starvation.
Khadija Mohamed Diriye, the Humanitarian Affairs minister, on July 26 met regional officials who reported that an alarming number people - 5.9 million - were in need of food and water.
“Intermittent droughts and floods in different parts of the country, political mayhem and effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, coupled with plagues by locusts, have worsened the humanitarian situation,” the officials said in a joint statement on Saturday.
Somalia, which is currently holding much-delayed elections, has also been under attack by militant group al-Shabaab for more than a decade.
In addition, intermittent weather patterns have seen the country experience lengthy droughts and floods in the last seven years.
In May, officials were scrambling to rescue several people trapped by floods in central regions. The country had experienced two of its biggest droughts in the last 10 years, which contributed to displacement.
Officials said many of those facing hunger today are displaced people and warned that the group may also face the risk of infectious diseases.
“We acknowledge that Somalia has made significant progress but the adverse conditions can cause a tremendous setback,” the officials said in their statement, indicating an urgent need for preventive interventions while envisioning long-term investments to foment permanent resilience.