Home WORLD AFRICA Somalia is on the brink of famine, warns the UN

Somalia is on the brink of famine, warns the UN


Famine is knocking at the door. Today is a final warninglaunched Martin Griffiths, the head of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs of theUN (OCHA), during a press conference from the Somali capital Mogadishu.

He pointed out that the latest data show concrete indications that a famine is about to occur […] between October and December of this yearin two districts in the south of the country, those of Baidoa and Buurhakaba.

Arriving in Somalia on Thursday, Mr Griffiths said to himself deeply shocked by the level of pain and suffering that so many Somalis are enduringclaiming to have seen children so malnourished they could barely speak during his visit to Baidoa, epicenter of impending disaster.

Across the country, a total of 7.8 million people, nearly half of the population, are affected by the historic drought, with 213,000 of them at high risk of starvation, according to figures from theUN.

Hunger and thirst have thrown a million people onto the roads since 2021.

A doctor puts his gloved hands on the child's belly, the mother watches.

A doctor examines a malnourished child.

Photo: The Canadian Press/AP/Farah Abdi Warsameh


The country is experiencing its third drought in a decade, but the current surpassed the horrific droughts of 2010-2011 and 2016-2017 in duration and severityestimated in July theOCHA.

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This drought is the result of a sequence, unprecedented for at least 40 years, of 4 insufficient rainy seasons in a row since the end of 2020.

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO), weather agency ofUNalerted at the end of August to the high probability that the next season, scheduled for October and November, will also fail.

The drought decimated herds, essential to the survival of a largely pastoral population, as well as crops, which had already been ravaged by an invasion of locusts that crossed the Horn of Africa between late 2019 and 2021.

The consequences of the coronavirus pandemic (health crisis, confinement, slow trade, etc.) have made the lives of many Somalis even more precarious.

And in recent months, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has had a dramatic impact on Somalia, whose wheat supply was 90% based on these two countries.

The prices of certain commodities have exploded. In parts of Somalia, prices of staple foods, such as red sorghum, have risen above levels seen during the 2011 famineunderlined a report by theOCHA published in July.

People’s means of producing food and earning an income are stretched beyond breaking point and large-scale intervention is urgently needed to save lives […] and avoid starvation. »

A quote from Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

Horn of Africa in crisis

Somalia was hit in 2011-2012 by a famine that killed around 260,000 people, half of whom were children under the age of 5. Famine was declared in several areas in the south and center of the country between July 2011 and February 2012.

In 2017, a new disaster was averted thanks to the early mobilization of the international community.

But this year, faced with the multiplicity of humanitarian emergencies (Yemen, Afghanistan, Ukraine, etc.), the many appeals launched by the NGO humanitarian organizations and agenciesUN to avoid a tragedy – not only in Somalia, but in the whole of the Horn of Africa (Ethiopia, Kenya) – had little echo.

At the end of June, theNGO Save The Children had warned the international community that it was advancing like a sleepwalker to catastrophic starvation in Somalia.

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