Food crisis looming in Somalia
Drought and military tension add to food insecurity
26 July 2006 Rome – A new humanitarian hot spot is building in Somalia where patchy seasonal rainfall and rising military tension threaten the food security of 2.1 million, FAO said today.
“Somalia is in deep crisis. Additional tension or conflict would be disastrous,” said Henri Josserand, head of FAO’s Global Information and Early Warning Service. “We are watching the situation very closely,” he added.
For the third consecutive season, the main Somali cereals harvest in August is expected to be poor due to insufficient rainfall during the main rainy season from April to June.
At the same time, rising tension between opposing armed groups, with reports of a military build-up around the seat of the transitional government, Baidoa, is seen as a major threat.
The escalating conflict has already resulted in civilian casualties and population displacements and since the bulk of food crops are grown in southern Somalia, where Baidoa is located, “any disruption of harvest activities would worsen the ongoing humanitarian crisis,” Josserand said.
Although there has been some rain in several drought-affected regions of Somalia, most of the south had below-average rainfall again this year and the food security situation of about 2.1 million drought-affected people remains precarious.
In addition prices of staple foods in most southern markets have increased by 30 percent since the end of last year and are currently abnormally high, placing poorer households at greater risk.
Recent nutrition surveys in the area found very high high rates of acute malnutrition, at between 16.2 and 23.8 percent, and of severe malnutrition, at 3.7 to 4.2 percent.
Information Officer, FAO,
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