UN: UN report highlights food insecurity, malnutrition in Somalia

New York, US (PANA) - A new UN food security and nutrition assessment report on
the situation in Somalia on Monday said it was alarming and could get worse, especially
in parts of Puntland and Somaliland, which have been hard hit by drought exacerbated by El Nino.

"We are deeply concerned that the proportion of severely food insecure people
remains alarmingly high, especially people who are unable to meet their daily food

"Some 3.7 million people will be acutely food insecure through mid-2016, and with
severe drought conditions intensifying in Puntland and Somaliland, many more
people risk relapsing into crisis," said Peter de Clercq, the UN Humanitarian
Coordinator for Somalia said in a statement on the assessment report.

He noted that the report produced by the Food Security and Nutrition Analysis
Unit (FSNAU) managed by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
in collaboration with Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET), stated
the situation is critical and could get worse.

"This latest assessment confirms persistently high and alarming levels
of food insecurity and malnutrition in Somalia, with an estimated 4.7 million
people, nearly 40 percent of the Somali population in need of humanitarian
assistance," he said.

Nearly 950,000 of these people are acutely food insecure and struggle every day to
meet their food needs, and internally displaced people make up more than two
thirds, or 68 percent, of acutely food insecure people.

"The level of malnutrition, especially among children, is of serious concern,
with nearly 305,000 children under the age of five years acutely malnourished,
and we estimate that 58,300 children face death if they are not treated.

"The drought could push these numbers higher in the months to come. We
must act now, and partners are ready to scale up response, but funding is
urgently needed to ensure this is done in a timely manner," Mr. de Clercq

The statement noted that, while acute food insecurity and malnutrition
is prevalent across the country, the drought situation in Puntland and
Somaliland is of particular concern.

It stressed that erratic rains during the 2015 (April to June) and the Karan
(August to September) seasons in Puntland and Somaliland resulted in a
near-total failure of cereal production (87 percent below the five-year average).

Meanwhile, the 2015 Deyr rains (October to December) were also below
average in these areas, putting pressure on pasture and livestock and leading
to the migration of 60-70 percent of households along with their animals to
areas with better pasture and water.

In addition, poor availability of pasture and water for livestock has significantly
exacerbated the humanitarian situation. Increasing movement of livestock,
including from Ethiopia and Djibouti are putting stress on adjacent areas.

In that regard, the UN official said: "We must do more to address recurrent
hunger, and humanitarian assistance is vital and has achieved enormously
positive food security results in recent years.

"But this alone will not free Somalia from the scourge of hunger. We must look
to remove the underlying causes of hunger, and fighting hunger is development
priority, as well as a humanitarian one."

The 2016 Humanitarian Response Plan for Somalia called for US$885 million
to address the most urgent needs of 3.5 million people.

It seeks to reduce preventable deaths, provide basic services and strengthen
the protection of vulnerable people, including the internally displaced.
-0-  PANA   AA/AR  8Feb2016

08 february 2016 17:44:58

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