Aid agencies in Somalia have appealed for $710 million to stave off a fast deteriorating humanitarian crisis in the country as 4.5 million people face acute food shortages.
The UN said in a statement Monday the funds were needed to provide critical lifesaving assistance for most hit families in the country between now and the end of the year.
Acting Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia George Conway warned the drought situation in the country had deteriorated earlier that was expected and called on donors and Somalis both home and abroad to contribute in averting the crisis.
“The drought situation in Somalia has deteriorated rapidly and intensified much earlier than seen over the last decade,” said Conway. “Somalia is at a critical juncture, and with sufficient resources, we can reactivate the structures that successfully avoided famine in 2017.”
According to the UN, the Gu rains (April-June) ‘have dismally failed, resulting in a second consecutive below-average rainy season while Somalia is still recovering from the impact of the prolonged 2016-17 drought’.
The UN added the 2019 Gu is the third driest on record since the early 1980s and has resulted in widespread crop failure and accelerated decline in livestock productivity.
RELATED COVERAGE: Somali NGOs raise red flag over ‘slow response’ as millions go hungry
The urgent appeal Monday follows concerns raised by the UN and aid agencies in the country that humanitarian response was still slow despite a deteriorating situation. Somalia NGO Consortium said Monday millions were facing acute food shortage but ‘we are yet to see strong commitments and unified efforts to save lives’.
The number of people in crisis and emergency levels of food insecurity or worse is expected to reach 2.2 million by July if aid is not scaled up, the UN said.
The 2019 Humanitarian Response Plan by the UN set the amount needed for this year at $1.08 billion but only 20% of that has been received.