UNITED NATIONS — United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths has released $10 million from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to ramp up emergency aid in Somalia, which is looking into the abyss after its worst drought in 40 years,
according to a press release issued Friday.
For the first time since 2017, famine-like conditions have been declared in the country, with 213,000 people living in famine-like conditions and 7.8 million people acutely food insecure.
“The clock is running down for people in Somalia. If we don’t step up in force now, it’ll run out and the malnourished children are likely to die first,” warned the UN humanitarian chief.
“This new funding will help humanitarian agencies get supplies and staff in place as soon as humanly possible to help avert a further catastrophe in Somalia.
“But there is no solution. We need all hands on deck and all resources mobilized to prevent famine,” Griffiths said.
Over 1 million Somalis have been displaced by the drought since 2021, and 1.5 million children under age 5 are malnourished.
They include 386,400 who will require emergency nutrition treatment to survive.
Humanitarians have reached over 4 million people with CERF funds in the first half of the year, and they continue to scale up to prevent the worst. With this latest funding, CERF has allocated a total of 41 million dollars to the drought response in Somalia this year.
Funding has backed food and nutrition interventions and delivered health, water and sanitation, protection, shelter and education to people in need.
The hunger crisis extends across the Horn of Africa.
More than 21 million people across eastern Ethiopia, northern Kenya and Somalia are facing high levels of acute food insecurity following four consecutive failed rainy seasons.
A fifth failed rainy season is predicted in the coming months, which will escalate needs. Somalia urgently needs assistance to save lives and avert famine, but it also needs substantial investments in livelihoods, infrastructure development and climate adaptation to build resilience to future climate shocks.
CERF is a mechanism through which donors pool their contributions in advance, allowing humanitarian agencies to provide initial, life-saving assistance wherever crises strike while they await additional funding. – Xinhua