UN Reports Fragile Progress in Famine-hit Somalia

Rows of food aid are laid out at a refugee camp in Somalia. Three areas in the country have emerged out of a state of famine, according to the United Nations. Photo by: IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation / CC BY-NC-ND

Rainfall and increased humanitarian aid efforts in Somalia have helped ease the situation in the country, according to the United Nations, which announced that three areas have emerged out of a state of famine.

The regions of Lower Shabelle, Bay and Bakool are no longer famine zones, according to a report from the Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit and the Famine Early Warning Systems Network, which was co-financed by the United Nations and the United States.

The report says food prices in these regions are falling and more food is available through markets. It cited increased efforts to boost Somalis’ spending power, the entry of more aid groups in the scene, and seasonal rains as key factors to the somewhat alleviating situation in the country, The New York Times reports.

But this progress is fragile and the situation of millions of people in Somalia, particularly in the southern regions of the country, remains critical, according to aid experts.

“This crisis is nowhere near over,” Sonia Zambakides of Save the Children said, according to The New York Times. “While there has been an improvement in these areas thanks to the international aid effort, children are still dying at a frightening rate across Somalia.”

The top U.N. aid chief, meanwhile, emphasized the need to sustain the fragile progress.

“I remain extremely concerned by the critical situation in Mogadishu and other parts of south and central Somalia,” said Valerie Amos, U.N. undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator. “We need the international community to continue to generously support the vital work we and our partners are doing.”

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About the author

  • Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.