According to the United Nations (UN), millions of people’s lives are immediately at risk due to the projected famine in Somalia

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According to the United Nations (UN), millions of people's lives are immediately at risk due to the projected famine in Somalia

Source: AUN News

Famine is developing in some areas of Somalia, and the country is experiencing unimaginable levels of misery, according to a new food security and nutrition report. The leaders of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC), the oldest and highest-level forum for coordinating humanitarian assistance within the United Nations system, responded by issuing a statement today that called for a significant infusion of funding to enable a vast scale-up of aid.

Today, rural households and livestock owners make up most of the people in Somalia who are experiencing famine and extreme hunger. Their ability to live depends on the health of their herds. The health and production of their animals are directly related to the nourishment of their offspring. Over the past year, those animals have been passing away at an alarming rate.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has already taken steps to convert its continuous assistance to these rural communities into financial aid, essential livestock feed, care, and water, but much more is urgently required.

The End Of Rural Livelihoods

Over a million people, primarily women and girls, have been driven from their homes, their lands, and their entire way of life and into camps as a result of COVID-19, unprecedented levels of drought, as well as increasing food costs, conflict, and the cholera virus (COVID-19). They must rely on outside aid to meet their needs, including water, food, healthcare, and shelter, and they face significant protection threats in these camps. Between June and September 2022, there were 7.1 million individuals in need of immediate humanitarian aid, up from 4.1 million at the beginning of 2022.

Despite its vital importance to survival, livelihood support is severely underfunded in the continuing humanitarian response, and hard-to-reach rural populations suffer the most. Every dollar spent on safeguarding rural livelihoods prevents the need for about $10 in food aid for displaced households. Between January and August this year, FAO provided cash assistance and livelihood support to 333 661 families. Still, the amount of help being provided and financing from the international community are not yet enough to safeguard those who are most vulnerable.

Financial gap

To be as near as possible to the impacted communities in Somalia, FAO is bringing assistance to rural regions. This facilitates the preservation of families and communities during times of crisis, lowering emotional and physical dangers to the most vulnerable and opening the door for a quicker recovery in the future. FAO continues to be the organisation with the most significant potential for reach and the procedures in place to scale-up lifesaving aid in hard-to-reach rural areas at risk of famine because of its well-established network of local partners and implementation modalities.

The FAO’s response strategy includes several support initiatives, such as providing feed, water, and veterinary care to pastoralists’ animals to keep them healthy and productive, as well as distributing drought-tolerant, early-maturing varieties of sorghum, maize, cowpea, and other beans and vegetables to riverine families who may still be able to engage in cropping despite the drought.

To provide 1.8 million people across 52 districts with emergency lifesaving and livelihood-protecting support, FAO Somalia urgently needs over $270 million. With only 23% of the plan funded as of August 2022, funding levels are still egregiously inadequate.

Analysis by: Advocacy Unified Network

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