UN declares end of famine in Somalia

February 4th, 2012 - 10:18 am ICT by IANS  

Rome, Feb 4 (IANS/AKI) Somalia’s famine has ended but drought in the Horn of Africa region continues to pose a threat to the area, the UN has said.

“Long-awaited rains coupled with substantial agricultural inputs and the humanitarian response deployed in the last six months are the main reasons for this improvement,” said Jose Graziano da Silva, director-general of the Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

The UN last summer sounded an alarm saying drought had created a humanitarian emergency, displacing thousands of people in Somalia and sending thousands more seeking assistance in neighbouring Kenya and Ethiopia.

A new report by FAO-managed Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit and USAID said the number of people in need of emergency humanitarian assistance in Somalia has dropped from four million to 2.34 million — around 31 percent of the population.

At the height of the crisis, 750,000 people were at risk of death.

“However, the crisis is not over. It can only be resolved with a combination of rains and continued, coordinated, long-term action that builds up the resilience of local populations and link relief with development,” he said.

“We can’t avoid droughts, but we can put measures in place to try to prevent them from becoming a famine. We have three months until the next rainy season,” he added.

–IANS/AKI
pm

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