Emergency meeting to aid Horn of Africa
A meeting was organised on 25 July 2011 by the Food and Agriculture Organisatioon (FAO) to finalise an immediate twin-track programme designed to avert an imminent humanitarian catastrophe and build long-term food security in the Horn of Africa. The number of Somalis in need of humanitarian assistance has increased from 2.4 to 3.7 million in the last six months.
The meeting was attended by Ministers and senior representatives from FAO’s 191 Member Countries, other UN agencies and international and non-governmental organizations. The food crisis in the Horn of Africa, triggered by drought, conflict and high food prices, is affecting more than 12 million people, with two regions of southern Somalia suffering from famine.
The emergency meeting recognized that “if this crisis is not quickly contained and reversed, it could grow rapidly into a humanitarian disaster affecting many parts of the greater Horn of Africa region and that it is of paramount importance that we address the needs of the people affected and the livelihood systems upon which they depend for survival”.
Famine in Somalia has killed tens of thousands of people in recent months and could grow even worse unless urgent action is taken, the FAO warned on Wednesday. FAO has appealed for $120 million for response to the drought in the Horn of Africa to provide agricultural emergency assistance.
“We must avert a human tragedy of vast proportions. And much as food assistance is needed now, we also have to scale up investments in sustainable immediate and medium-term interventions that help farmers and their families to protect their assets and continue to produce food,” said the FAO. In a special report the FAO-managed Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit for Somalia and the Famine Early Warning Systems Network officially declared a state of famine in two regions of southern Somalia, Bakool and Lower Shabelle. The report warns that in the next one or two months famine will become widespread throughout southern Somalia.
Together with ongoing crises in the rest of the country, the number of Somalis in need of humanitarian assistance has increased from 2.4 million to 3.7 million in the last 6 months. Altogether, around 12 million people in the Horn of Africa are currently in need of emergency assistance.
Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit – Somalia
Famine Early Warning System Network
East and Central Africa – Disaster reduction
FAO and emergencies
Global Information and Early Warning System
Erwin Northoff, Media Relations (Rome)
(+39) 06 570 53105
(+39) 348 25 23 616
Frank Nyakairu, Somalia Communications Consultant
(+254) 20 400000
(+254) 729 867 698 (cell)
Shannon Miskelly, Regional Communications (FAO Nairobi)
(+254) 733 400 022 (cell)