Somalia drought: At least 110 die as fears of famine grow

At least 110 people, most of them women and children, have died from starvation and drought-related illness in Somalia in the past 48 hours.

According to CNN, Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire made the announcement last Saturday, while speaking to the drought committee in Mogadishu. Four days before, President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo had declared the drought as national disaster.

The death toll covers only those who died in the rural areas, southwestern Bay region, where drought is more severe than other parts of the country. In the rest of the country, numbers of death were not clear, not included.

A boy in the cries  death of his mother.

A boy  cries death of his mother in Garowe, Somalia

“The drought response committee briefed the PM about the humanitarian crises in the country that is threatening the lives of the people and their livestock who are on the brink of dying from hunger and watery diarrhea disease,” Khaire’s office said.

Khaire has urged “business people and everyone to contribute to the drought response efforts aimed at saving the lives of the millions of Somalis dying of hunger and lack of water.”

The country has been hit by a severe drought that has affected more than 6.2 million people who are currently facing food insecurity and lack of clean water because of rivers that are drying up and recent years with little rain.

According to the United Nations, “Somalia is in the grip of an intense drought, induced by two consecutive seasons of poor rainfall. In the worst-affected areas, inadequate rainfall and lack of water has wiped out crops and killed livestock, while communities are being forced to sell their assets, and borrow food and money to survive.”

Famine in Somalia killed roughly 258,000 people between 2010 and 2012, according to joint report of UN and USAID. At the time, humanitarian organization Oxfam criticized the international community’s response to the famine in Somalia, saying “the world was too slow to respond.”

Somalia is among four nations where a total of 1.4 million children could die of severe acute malnutrition as famine looms.  According to UNICEF, South Sudan, Nigeria and Yemen are also areas of heightened concern.

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Jean Baptiste Karegeya

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