U.N. humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths told reporters he was "shocked to my core these past few days'' on a visit to Somalia in which he saw starving babies too weak to cry.
The United Nations says “famine is at the door” in Somalia with “concrete indications” famine will occur later this year in the southern Bay region. This falls just short of a formal famine declaration as thousands are dying in a historic drought made worse by the effects of the war in Ukraine.
U.N. humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths told reporters he was “shocked to my core these past few days” on a visit to Somalia in which he saw starving babies too weak to cry. More than 850,000 people are in the affected areas, with tens of thousands more arriving in the months to come, according to U.N. experts.
A formal famine declaration is rare and a warning that too little help has come too late. At least 1 million people in Somalia have been displaced by the driest drought in decades, driven by climate change, that also affects the wider Horn of Africa including Ethiopia and Kenya.
Famine is the extreme lack of food and a significant death rate from outright starvation or malnutrition combined with diseases like cholera. A declaration means data shows more than a fifth of households have extreme food gaps, more than 30% of children are acutely malnourished and over two people out of 10,000 are dying every day.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been described as a disaster for Somalia, which has suffered from a shortage of humanitarian aid as international donors focus on Europe. Somalia sourced at least 90% of its wheat from Russia and Ukraine before the war and has been hit hard by scarcity and the sharp rise in food prices.
“Ukraine has occupied the narrative,” Griffiths said.
Hungry families in Somalia have been staggering for days or weeks through parched terrain in search of assistance. Many bury family members along the way. Even when they reach camps outside urban areas, they find little or no help.
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