MERCY CORPS: Weak rains and twice as many people on brink of famine spell danger for Somalia

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Global organization calls for renewed support to avert another human tragedy

Baidoa, Somalia, 2017. Weather conditions and insecurity has forced 975,000 people from their homes since January. Credit: Peter Caton for Mercy Corps.

Weak rains will bring no respite for millions of Somalis. They will continue to watch their crops and animals die and, in turn, food and water prices skyrocket.

The global organization Mercy Corps warns that two years of disrupted weather patterns in Somalia is straining food and water resources as forecasts indicate that rains expected now will be inadequate for the fourth rainy season. With the country still reeling from its worst-ever terrorist attack, drought has become another deadly threat: almost 100,000 children are at risk of death and some 800,000 people are on the brink of famine. Mercy Corps calls for urgent humanitarian assistance to prevent another human catastrophe.

“Weak rains will bring no respite for millions of Somalis. They will continue to watch their crops and animals die and, in turn, food and water prices skyrocket,” says Abdikadir Mohamud, Mercy Corps’ country director in Somalia. “In a bitter irony, what rains do arrive could worsen the unsanitary conditions for the hundreds of thousands of displaced Somalis living in camps and informal settlements.”

Since January, more than 975,000 Somalis have left their homes because of drought and violence, and the number of Somalis on the brink of famine has doubled to 800,000 people, including 87,000 children under the age of five, according to the United Nations. Meanwhile, the 2017 international response plan for the crisis remains underfunded by 46 percent, roughly $679 million.

“We are entering a new, unknown phase of need. The international community must act now to avert a third famine in Somalia,” says Mohamud. “This year’s emergency aid programs are about to end. We are deeply concerned that there may not be the will to help those Somalis who stand on the brink of starvation.”

Since 2005, Mercy Corps in Somalia has improved access to food and clean water, stimulated markets and provided education opportunities, reaching more than 1 million men, women and children. The organization’s response to the drought will reach 150,000 people in most dire need with lifesaving assistance, as well as emergency livelihoods support for families who have lost their incomes.

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Emir Nader
Mercy Corps
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Katia Riddle
Mercy Corps
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