Without Urgent Humanitarian Intervention Famine Could Devastate Somalia Again
By Eileen Schuhmann | Presbyterian Hunger Program
The U.N. warned last month that all of the conditions are in place for famine to occur again in Somalia.
Mark Lowcock, the under secretary general and emergency relief coordinator at the United Nations, says 2.2 million people could face acute food insecurity by September, a 40 percent increase from January.
In Somalia, violent conflict has been raging between Al-Shabab militants and Somali government forces since 1991. The violent conflict, combined with cyclic droughts and floods, has led to long-lasting food insecurity.
Successive poor harvests, disruption of normal activities due to continuing civil strife, and devastating flooding in 2018 further exacerbated an already precarious food situation. Currently, 5.4 million people are food insecure.
Its important to remember that once famine is declared, people have already been suffering tremendously and dying everyday. Waiting for a declaration of famine before acting is a death sentence for the vulnerable, particularly children under the age of 5.
The Presbyterian Hunger Program is partnering with the Somalian grassroots organization Kaalmo Relief and Development to provide emergency food assistance through food vouchers to provide immediate access to food from local vendors. Each food voucher permits each beneficiary family to receive 50kg of rice, 8.5kg of beans, 6 liters of oil, 0.9kg of salt, and 4kg of sugar.
In times of famine and extreme hunger, emergency food is a necessity, but pre-packaged food relief from foreign agencies can undermine local food systems, contributing to long-term issues of food insecurity. The vouchers offered through our partner in Somalia provide enough food to feed a family of four for a month and can be redeemed with local vendors, helping to nourish the population and strengthen the area’s local economy.
To learn more, take action and give you can visit www.pcusa.org/phpfamine.