Mercy Corps: International Community Must Move Quickly to Prevent Another Famine in Somalia

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Leading global organization warns that failure to implement long-term responses is trapping Somalis in a cycle of drought, death and aid.

Vulnerable families are exhausting their resources and seeing their animals dying in front of them from disease and hunger

Leading global organization Mercy Corps is calling on the international community to act now to avert a looming famine in Somalia. Drought conditions in the country mean that more than three million people will struggle to survive without emergency food assistance, the Famine Early Warning Systems network has warned.

“We are witnessing the collapse of food, water and market systems at a scale beyond the country’s current capacity to respond,” says Abdikadir Mohamud, Mercy Corps Country Director for Somalia. “The international community must act quickly to prevent deaths – but must not simply look for quick fixes. Failing to implement long-term responses will trap Somalis in a cycle of drought, death and aid dependence.”

Two seasons of failed rains in the Horn of Africa has seen three-quarters of the country’s livestock die, cereal production drop by 75 percent, and prices skyrocket, with a barrel of water tripling in price. This comes only six years after the 2011 famine which killed an estimated 260,000 Somalis.

Forecasts suggest that the April rains this year are also likely to be below normal, just as they were in 2011 when the number of drought deaths sharply increased.

“Vulnerable families are exhausting their resources and seeing their animals dying in front of them from disease and hunger, says Mohamud. “Disaster funds don’t last. The lesson of 2011 is not only about the importance of moving quickly, but about the necessity of planning for the future.”

Mercy Corps has been improving access to food and water, rehabilitating water-ways, supporting local markets, and providing education and civic opportunities in Somalia since 2005. The organization currently supports more than 100,000 Somalis. Mercy Corps research has demonstrated that long-term responses can strengthen the ability of households to cope with drought in the Horn of Africa.

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Emir Nader
Mercy Corps
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Katia Riddle
Mercy Corps
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