Somalia is on the threshold of famine, following poor rains for the fourth rainy season in a row, a representative of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation, FAO, said on Tuesday.
Etienne Peterschmitt said hundreds of thousands of Somalis are at a very real risk of starvation and death.
The representative said harvests were practically non-existent after rainfalls between 40 per cent and 70 per cent lower than usual, depending on the region.
“Food prices have risen sharply and humanitarian aid is slow in arriving.’’
She said 7.1 million people, equivalent to 45 per cent of the country’s population, are struggling to find food for their families.
“Since mid-April, the number of people worst hit by the disaster and facing starvation has risen by 160 per cent to 213,000.
“Around three million livestock have died as a result of the drought and disease.
“1.5 million children are suffering acute malnutrition.
“Conflict within the country is hampering the provision of supplies,’’ she said.
According to Peterschmitt, the FAO needs 105 million U.S. dollars to provide rural people with cash to buy food and to support agriculture with a view to improving future harvests and to keeping them in their home villages.