Source: Voice of America
Fighting and insecurity are the main stumbling blocks to getting food aid to starving people
3 August 2011 - The U.N. is warning that famine conditions are likely to spread beyond southern Somalia in the next four to eight weeks.
Fatoumata Lejeune-Kaba, spokesperson for the UNHCR, said that conclusion is based on several factors that determine severe hunger and famine.
“Given the current levels of malnutrition,” she explained, “ the mortality rate, the limited humanitarian response to parts of south Somalia because of violence, and the combination of increases in food prices and harsh dry seasons, the food security is expected to deteriorate in the coming months.”
Lejeune-Kaba said aid groups partnering with the UNHCR are predicting all areas of Somalia will likely face famine by August or September.
She said relief groups there are hindered by fighting between the government and Islamic militants who control large parts of the country.
“We need access to help people where they are and we’re not, unfortunately, in a situation where we could immediately help, whether it’s the UNHCR or other agencies-- as long as the fighting is going on,” explained Lejeune-Kaba.
An internally displaced Somali family stand in front of their makeshift shelter in south Mogadishu in Hodan district August 2, 2011
An internally displaced Somali family stand in front of their makeshift shelter in south Mogadishu in Hodan district.
The United Nations says the number of Somali refugees in the Horn of Africa has topped 860,000, many of them forced out by the ongoing drought and famine.
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