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FAO seeks 270 mln USD in urgent assistance for 1.8 mln Somalis amid crisis

Wednesday September 7, 2022

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) said Tuesday it needs 270 million U.S. dollars in urgent funding for humanitarian aid to 1.8 million Somalis across 52 districts.

The FAO, which called for immediate and scaled-up assistance to devastated rural communities to avert catastrophe, said funding levels remained drastically low, with only 23 percent of the plan funded as of August.

"The people facing famine and extreme hunger in Somalia today are overwhelmingly livestock owners and rural families," the FAO said in a statement. "Their survival depends on the survival of their herds."

UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths warned Monday that famine would occur in two areas of the country in the Bay region (Baidoa and Burhakaba districts) in south-central Somalia between October and December and that these conditions are likely to last through to at least March 2023.

"Famine is at the door" in Somalia where children are already dying from malnutrition in a region suffering its worst drought in 40 years, he said.

The FAO said it has already moved to convert its ongoing support to these rural communities into cash assistance, alongside critical livestock feed, care, and water, but much more is urgently needed. It also said unprecedented levels of drought, alongside skyrocketing food prices, conflict, and COVID-19 have forced more than 1 million people -- predominantly women and girls -- from their homes, their lands, their entire way of being, and into camps.

"They face enormous protection risks in these camps and have to rely on external assistance to meet every single need - water, food, health care, shelter," the FAO said.

According to the UN food agency, the number of people in need of urgent humanitarian assistance has increased from 4.1 million at the start of 2022 to 7.1 million people between June and September.


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