Monday, May 5, 2014

War, late rains spark Somalia 'crisis' warning

Africa Daily via AFP: War and delayed rains in Somalia are putting thousands of lives at risk, especially in areas where African Union troops are battling Islamist extremists for control, the United Nations said Friday. Seasonal rains crucial for farming and usually lasting from April to June are yet to start in key southern areas of Somalia, as well as in far northeast
ern regions.

If rains fail this month, "combined with sustained insecurity, we might see new levels of crisis unfold," said Daniel Molla, chief technical advisor from the UN's Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU).

"Delayed rains, rising food prices and persistent insecurity in Somalia is likely to worsen the country's food security situation in the coming months," FSNAU added in a statement, with more than 850,000 people requiring "urgent humanitarian assistance".

The southern regions of Middle and Lower Shabelle are the worst affected, frontline battle zones where African Union troops fighting alongside Somali government forces are battling Al-Qaeda linked Shebab insurgents.

Over 200,000 children aged under five are "acutely malnourished", with more than a quarter of those assessed as severe cases who "face a higher risk of death", FSNAU added. Somalia was the hardest hit by extreme drought in 2011 that affected over 13 million people across the Horn of Africa, with famine zones declared in large parts of the war-ravaged south....

Somali refugees in 20011, shot by Oxfam Horn of Africa famine refugee.jpg: Oxfam East Africa, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

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