While news of an official end to famine in Somalia is heartening, an estimated 2 million people still face serious food shortages in the country.
The United Nations has declared an end to famine in Somalia. Six regions of the country were designated as famine zones in July 2011. While the change in designation is promising, the level of need in Somalia is still great, and World Vision remains committed to the Horn of Africa.
Heavy rains that began last fall led to one of the best harvests in more than 17 years, and a surge in international aid increased the availability of food, helping to lower prices.
However, the UN has warned that these gains are “fragile.” Famine conditions could return if the traditional August rains are less than expected and political turmoil in Somalia continues to disrupt the ability of aid organizations to reach vulnerable people.
While the decision by the UN to declare an end to the famine in parts of Somalia is good news, Stuart Katwikirize, World Vision’s director for humanitarian and emergency affairs in East Africa, says the humanitarian crisis caused by the drought and ongoing military conflict in the region is far from over.
“Some harvests and an increase in international aid have led to an improvement in conditions in Somalia,” says Katwikirize. “But there are still approximately 2 million people facing serious food shortages in the country, and they will continue to need support for the foreseeable future.”
While the most severe conditions have subsided, World Vision will continue to provide day-to-day support and also focus on implementing long-term health and development programs to help local communities deal with future droughts.
However, in order for this life-saving aid to continue in Somalia, World Vision’s emergency affairs director, Francois Batalingaya, says that government leaders and the international community must remain committed to the work and the funding needed to provide emergency relief.
“There are no quick fixes for a crisis like the one that Somalia has endured over the past year,” explains Batalingaya. “The international community must continue to provide aid over the longer term to help children and their families in areas where access to food and medical care remains uncertain.”
Pray. Thank God for an end to the famine in Somalia. Pray for the many children and families still at risk due to food shortages. Pray for stability in Somalia and that organizations like World Vision will be able to access the people who need assistance.
Make a one-time gift to our Lifesaving Food and Care Fund. Your donation will help deliver emergency food aid, agricultural support, and more to children and families in places like Somalia.