200,000 at risk of starvation as drought ravages Somalia: UN


More than 200,00 in danger of starvation in Somalia, UN says. PHOTO | FILE

Somalia is facing a "very alarming" situation after more than four years of drought have devastated livestock many people depend upon, a top UN official said on Tuesday.

The United Nations has warned that the Horn of Africa nation is on the brink of famine for the second time in just over a decade, with 200,000 people in danger of starvation.

"The situation currently in Somalia is very alarming," Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Africa regional representative Abebe Haile-Gabriel told AFP on a visit to Nigeria's capital Abuja.

"The situation in Somalia like I said has been very dire. There has been drought for more than four years in a row and this has divesting impact on the livelihood of the people of Somalia."

Many were likely already starving to death in Somalia, the WHO has said, warning that humanitarian workers could not keep up with the surging needs.

The FAO official, an Ethiopian and former Africa Union agriculture director, also said efforts had been made to provide aid to farmers in Ethiopia's Tigray region, where rebels are again fighting against government forces. 

"There have been some efforts to provide assistance. FAO has been in collaborations with some donor agencies, to procure some fertilisers and make it available to farmers in the affected region," he said. 

"This is not a sustainable solution. The sustainable solution is to find peace so that normal life can continue."

Eritrean soldiers have crossed the border to back Ethiopian troops since fighting reignited in August between government forces and rebels from Tigray, ending a five-month truce.

The war has claimed untold lives and spurred a humanitarian crisis, and all sides to the conflict have been accused of abuses against civilians.


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