3 million people in Somalia face starvation, disease – IFRC

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International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)
International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)

International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) warned Wednesday that some three million people in Somalia face starvation and disease, and called for swift action to avert the humanitarian disaster.

The IFRC said one in four people face high levels of acute food insecurity and more than 800,000 children under five years old are at risk of acute malnutrition unless they receive urgent treatment and food assistance.

Mohammed Mukhier, IFRC’s regional director for Africa said in a statement that Somalia is one of the riskiest places on earth to live right now.

“The country is a catalogue of catastrophes. Climate-related disasters, conflict and COVID-19 have coalesced into a major humanitarian crisis for millions of people. We can’t keep talking about this, we must reduce suffering now,” Mukhier said.

The IFRC said it is seeking 9.4 million U.S. dollars to support the Somali Red Crescent Society to deliver humanitarian assistance to 563,808 people in Somaliland and Puntland over 18 months.

“We are doing our best to contribute to the reduction of hunger and disease. But, frankly speaking, available assistance remains a drop in the ocean, given the scale of suffering,” Mukhier said.

The IFRC said Somalia’s humanitarian situation continues to worsen due to multiple threats, including the outbreak of diseases such as measles, malaria and COVID-19 in addition to food insecurity.

The country is vulnerable to extreme climatic conditions, including repeated cycles of drought, seasonal floods, and tropical cyclones including desert locusts, it said.

“People regularly experience loss of livelihoods, food insecurity, malnutrition, and a scarcity of clean water. Seventy percent of the country’s population lives in poverty, and 40 percent is estimated to be living in extreme poverty,” IFRC said.

It said the socio-economic impacts of COVID-19 are likely to lead to worsening nutrition outcomes among vulnerable groups. Enditem

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