Millions of rural Somali people are facing unprecedented challenges to their food security according to the findings of a recently released food security survey.
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) calls for an urgent scale-up in emergency humanitarian aid alongside transformative actions to improve food and water security, and people’s resilience against climate change.
SOUNDBITE (English) Lenin Gradiz, FAO Emergency Coordination Specialist: “Strategic investment and transformative approaches must be made to sustainably improve food and water security for millions of Somalis. Investments in a strengthened existing early warning system, flexible funding for anticipatory actions and area-based model approaches that have already existed is necessary. That will help us to break the cycle of year on year acute vulnerability, especially in rural communities”.
Somalia has been on the brink of famine in recent months due to the unprecedented drought triggered by five consecutive poor rainy seasons and an anticipated sixth, exacerbated by high food and water prices, conflict and poor access to water, sanitation and health services.
The latest Integrated Food Security Phase (IPC) analysis reveals that thanks to a large scale-up in multisector humanitarian assistance and slightly more favorable than previously foreseen rainfall performance, famine is no longer projected in parts of Somalia, however, the situation remains critical and ‘Risk of Famine’ persists in some areas.
The report shows that since the beginning of the year, nearly 5 million people are still experiencing a high level of acute food insecurity (IPC Phase 3), which is the crisis level or worse according to the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC).
Lenin Gradiz warns that immediate actions must be taken as the hunger figure is expected to climb up in the next few months to 6.5 million.
SOUNDBITE (English) Lenin Gradiz, FAO Emergency Coordination Specialist: “The need continues to rise: 6.5 million people are likely to be in acute and severe food insecurity stage and of these (over) 200 000 will be in famine situation of food insecurity. If the support is not provided in the next six months”.
FAO appeals to all humanitarian actors for joint and coordinated efforts to take existing solutions to scale, and asks resource partners to shift their investments towards long-term programs to ensure sustainable water and food security.
Prolonged droughts have devastated crop production and led to declining livestock which rural families and pastoralists rely on for their livelihoods.
52 year-old Fadumo Jimcale Salat, a herder and a mother of 12 from Luuq in central Somalia saw all of her animals die due to the drought.
SOUNDBITE (Somali), Fadumo Jimcale Salat, herder: "The drought has affected us a lot as we are herders. The drought has affected us a lot and we have run out of livestock. And we are very, very poor."
The protracted crisis, now in its third year, has exhausted the coping strategies of the most vulnerable, with families experiencing conflict insecurity, displacement, childhood malnutrition, disease outbreaks and loss of life.
SOUNDBITE (Somali), Fadumo Jimcale Salat, herder: "We are unable to recover so we work in the town doing irregular jobs like collecting firewood, and burning charcoal to earn a living".
FAO has received $183 million accounting for 68 percent of the required funds under FAO’s Somalia Famine Prevention Scale-up Plan (May 2022 – June 2023).
With these funds, the Organization reached over 1 million people or 47 percent of the targeted 2.4 million. FAO urgently requires additional funding to scale up immediate access to food and basic needs in rural, hard-to-reach and inaccessible areas, as well as to safeguard livelihoods and support food production where it is still possible.
The IPC Acute Food Insecurity (IPC AFI) classification measures the levels of food insecurity that threaten peoples or livelihoods of people. In particular, the IPC classification distinguishes five phases of acute food insecurity: (1) Minimal/None, (2) Stressed, (3) Crisis, (4) Emergency, (5) Catastrophe/Famine.