East African Community Appeals International Community To Help Drought-hit Somalia

NAIROBI, Sept 12 (BERNAMA-NNN-Xinhua) — East Africa’s bloc has appealed to the international community to help Somalia where more than one million people face food shortages.

The regional bloc, Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), also hailed the measures the Somali government has undertaken to mitigate the devastating effects of the current drought in the country.

“IGAD hereby places an appeal to the international community to promptly assist the Somali government in its effort to overcome the challenges of drought before it becomes famine,” said the statement received in Nairobi.

The appeal comes after the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has warned of worsening food security situation in Somalia in the next several months as drought looms in the Horn of Africa nation.

Latest assessment findings by the Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit and the Famine Early Warning Systems Network reflect a significant decline of food providing, owing to a lethal mix of drought, surging food prices and conflict.

Over one million people in Somalia face food insecurity today, up by 20 percent from 857,000 six months ago, bringing the total number of people in need of humanitarian assistance or livelihood support to over 3 million.

According to the UN, after gradual rebuilding of livelihoods since the 2011 famine that cost over 250,000 lives in excess mortality, fragile gains are now being eroded and malnutrition rates are again on the rise.

The regional bloc said the Somali government has not only established a Special Committee to tackle the drought and its effects, but also follows and addresses the needs of those who are affected as much as its capacity allows.

The Somalia government has declared the urgency of making food, water, medication and shelter available to the victims of the current drought, which has occurred within a very short span of time since the last devastating drought of 2011.

It has also allocated 500,000 U.S. dollars to the victims to reach intended recipients as soon as possible in the form of the items mentioned above.

“IGAD would like to add its voice to that of the government of Somalia in stressing the need for international assistance in the form not only of food, water and medication, but also vehicles and other technical support that would assist in moving the supplies to where they are most needed,” the statement said.

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