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Working Around the Clock to Avert Famine In Somalia

Severe drought threatens catastrophe

Story by World Food Programme March 7th, 2017

Updated: 11:30, Wednesday 8 March

Somalia’s food and nutrition security are again under severe threat, after a gradual recovery from famine in 2011.

Close to 3 million severely food and nutrition insecure Somalis require urgent humanitarian assistance amidst severe drought across the Horn of Africa, while another 3.3 million need support to avert crisis.

The World Food Programme has been scaling up its operations since 2016, through cash-based transfers, food assistance and nutrition support. To meet emergency needs, WFP is sending food supplies by air to most isolated places that trucks cannot reach due to extreme insecurity.

A WFP-chartered  plane carrying high-energy biscuits from Indonesia lands at in Mogadishu. Photo: WFP/Kabir Dhanji

An estimated 363,000 children aged under 5 are acutely malnourished, including 71,000 who are severely malnourished and face a high risk of disease and death.

WFP is mobilizing food assistance from its warehouses to reach areas affected by drought. Newly arrived fortified food will soon be delivered to locations such as Baidoa in the south, or distributed to feeding centres.

In markets where food supplies are still available and prices are stable, e-vouchers delivered on WFP’s digital delivery system – SCOPE –enable vulnerable, drought-affected households to buy food at local shops.

At a top-up centre in Bossaso, a woman receives her e-transfer on a SCOPE card, using her fingerprint as signature. Photo: WFP/Kabir Dhanji

WFP is providing daily, hot cooked meals for internally displaced families in centres including in the capital city of Mogadishu.

The drought is spread across more of the country than in 2010 and 2011. It has forced a large influx of internally displaced persons over the past two weeks in areas around Mogadishu.

Families in an IDP camp eat high-energy, fortified biscuits as they wait to register onto WFP’s SCOPE platform. Photo: WFP/Kabir Dhanji

Another poor rainy season in the Horn of Africa could spell catastrophe for the vulnerable populations living across parts of Somalia, Kenya and southern Ethiopia.

WFP urges continued support from donors to invest in the emergency response in Somalia that is already under way.

Women and children wait for food rations at a hot-meal centre in Mogadishu. Photo: WFP/Kabir Dhanji

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