Nearly 860,000 people remain acutely food insecure in Somalia with 51,000 children facing increased risk of death

Nearly 860,000 people remain acutely food insecure in Somalia with 51,000 children facing increased risk of death

05/02/2014

Successive seasons of near to above average rainfall in most parts of Somalia, low food prices and continued humanitarian response have brought down the number of people requiring urgent, lifesaving humanitarian assistance from its peak of 4 million during the 2011 famine. However, the latest assessment findings indicate that the number of people requiring humanitarian assistance has shown no further improvement since August 2013, exacerbated by a below average harvest, conflict, floods, and a tropical cyclone. Acute malnutrition persists, with tens of thousands of children facing increased risk of death, especially in the country’s south.

An estimated 857,000 people will be in Crisis and Emergency (IPC Phases 3 and 4) requiring urgent humanitarian assistance between now and June according to a joint assessment by the Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit for Somalia (FSNAU), a project managed by UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET), a project funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and other partners.

The recent figures represent an 18 percent decline since January 2013, but this is a mere 1.5 percent decline since August 2013. The positive impact of increased livestock prices, increasing livestock herd sizes, improved milk availability, low prices of both local and imported staple food commodities, higher purchasing power from labor income and livestock sales as well as sustained humanitarian interventions over the last six months was undermined by a Deyr 2013 cereal harvest in January/February estimated to be 20 percent below the long-term and five-year averages.

The food security condition of over 2 million additional people remains fragile and is classified as Stressed (IPC Phase 2). This group of households may struggle to meet their own minimal food requirements through mid-2014, and they remain highly vulnerable to shocks that could push them back to food security crisis.