The UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, Mark Bowden, confirmed Wednesday that famine has spread to three more areas: the Afgoye Corridor, the capital Mogadishu and Middle Shabelle.
The UN, he said, is concerned about the drastic situation in southern Somalia. He also appealed to the international community to scale up aid to the country and drought- stricken Horn of Africa.
The number of areas suffering from famine in Somalia has now increased to five. In Mogadishu, famine has been caused by the huge influx of refugees arriving during the last two months.
According to the United Nations, a famine can be declared only when certain measures of mortality, malnutrition and hunger are met. They are: at least 20 per cent of households in an area face extreme food shortages with a limited ability to cope; acute malnutrition rates exceed 30 per cent; and the death rate exceeds two persons per day per 10,000 persons.
The spread of the famine conditions highlights the seriousness of the food crisis facing internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Mogadishu. The declaration of famine in the capital follows the massive influx of starving adults and children into the city in the past two months.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), meanwhile, said that the appeal for funds to respond the hunger crisis in the Horn of Africa region, including Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya and Djibouti, is still only 44 per cent funded, with an additional $1.4 billion still required to cover unmet needs. An estimated 12.4 million people in the entire region are in need of assistance, according to OCHA.
On 20 July, the United Nations declared famine in Bakool and Lower Shabelle, approximately 400 Km from Mogadishu, after weeks of an intense drought that created the worst emergency in the region in 60 years. The crisis has affected 12.4 million people in Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti.
UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos, told reporters Monday that more than 1.4 billion dollars are still needed to battle the drought, and that famine could spread to five or six more regions. She also called on Foundations and private companies to cooperate. Meanwhile, OCHA estimates that only about 1.0 billion dollars have been received so far from donors worldwide.
© Inter Press Service (2011) — All Rights ReservedOriginal source: Inter Press Service
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