Kenya: Somalia minister warns severe hunger still major humanitarian concern

Nairobi, Kenya (PANA) - Somali humanitarian affairs Minister, Maryam Qasim, warned on Tuesday that severe malnutrition and hunger remained a major threat to the Horn of Africa country despite the successful efforts to stop the region’s worst drought from becoming a major humanitarian catastrophe.

“Our projection for 2018 is that severe hunger is still an issue of concern. The rainfall outlook into 2018 is not promising. Our priority is into saving lives and building strong social networks to overcome shocks,” the Somali relief and disaster minister told reporters in Nairobi.

The minister, who addressed a Consortium of Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) meeting in Nairobi about the severe drought in Somalia, said over 3.1 million people, equal to 26% of the Somali population, are in a state of food emergency or facing a food crisis and in need of humanitarian assistance.

A total of 6.2 million people in Somalia are in need of humanitarian assistance and livelihood support, which is nearly a half of the Somali population.

The minister said the drought has had a huge impact on the lives of the Somali children, leading to high rates of malnutrition.

At least 388,000 children under the age of five are acutely malnourished and face threat of disease. The food crisis has led to massive internal population displacements within Somalia.

According to the minister, an additional 1 million people have been displaced since the start of the year due to the drought inside Somalia.

The minister said the government’s priority remained focused on how to address the need of the Somali population and to ensure that they survive the drought and lead dignified lives.

“We cannot afford to have children who have been displaced by the drought to be out of school for too long. We must invest now to secure their future. I urge all humanitarian actors to support and prioritise the government’s efforts in addressing the needs of the Internally Displaced Populations,” Qasim said.

The Somali minister said the projections showed households would continue to suffer food shortage resulting in high malnutrition rates especially for children less than five years of age.

Somali humanitarian actors launched appeals for US$1.5 billion to respond to the relief needs in 2017. The international donors have so far provided 54% of the funding needs, equivalent to US$820 million.

“The risk of hunger is still a real for many families. I call upon the donors to fulfill their commitments so that we are able to sustain the same level of support to our communities,” Qassim said.
-0-PANA AO?VAO 3Oct2017

03 october 2017 15:37:54

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