Somalia famine ends, but situation still dire

Somalia famine ends, but situation still dire

03/02/2012

FAO’s new Director-General prioritizes Horn of Africa - The United Nations declared an end to famine conditions in Somalia today, but warned that with recurrent droughts in the Horn of Africa hunger remains a threat unless long-term measures are taken to restore food security.

According to a new report by the FAO-managed Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU) and USAID’s Famine Early Warning System Network (FEWS NET), the number of people in need of emergency humanitarian assistance in Somalia has dropped from 4 million to 2.34 million, 31 percent of the population. At the height of the crisis, 750,000 people were at risk of death.

José Graziano da Silva's visit to Dollow, Somalia

“Long-awaited rains coupled with substantial agricultural inputs and the humanitarian response deployed in the last six months are the main reasons for this improvement,” FAO’s new Director-General José Graziano da Silva told a press conference in Nairobi after visiting southern Somalia.

“However, the crisis is not over. It can only be resolved with a combination of rains and continued, coordinated, long-term actions that build up the resilience of local populations and link relief with development. “We can’t avoid droughts, but we can put measures in place to try to prevent them from becoming a famine. We have three months until the next rainy season,” he added. Graziano da Silva emphasized that FAO will step up its current efforts in the Horn of Africa and highlighted that agriculture is a key factor in establishing peace and stability in the region.