The UN Has A Grim Update On The Somali Food Crisis

Tasting Table reported on September 6, 2022 that food insecurity in Somalia that is due to a catastrophic drought was expected to become increasingly dire. Countries in the Greater Horn of Africa, like Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia, are facing the fifth consecutive failure of their rainy season, according to the World Meteorological Association, making this the longest drought in forty years. This is a situation that's catastrophic for millions of people who are already experiencing life-threatening food insecurity.

UNICEF Somalia representative Wafaa Saeed announced last week that so far in 2022, 730 children have died in Somali food and nutrition centers (per Reuters). These nutrition centers already house children suffering from starvation, as well as diseases like cholera, measles, and malaria, all of which officials predict will worsen as the drought continues. In fact, United Nations (UN) representatives issued sobering predictions this week about the number of Somali children likely to suffer from malnutrition due to the ongoing food shortages and drought.

The UN has updated malnutrition estimates in Somalia

According to Reuters, on September 13, the UN announced it is increasing its earlier June estimates for the number of children likely to suffer from malnutrition in Somalia. Revised estimates are that 513,000 children are at risk, a 30% increase over June's figures. Relief Web indicates that 6.7 million people in Somalia are projected to experience high levels of acute food insecurity in the latter months of 2022, adding that between August 2022 and July 2023 1.8 million children in Somalia are likely to suffer from acute malnutrition.

UNICEF's Wafaa Saeed implores donors to "step up and fully fund the UN's Humanitarian Response Plan," providing the money desperately needed to prevent children from dying needlessly. James Elder, spokesman for UNICEF, reiterates (via Reuters), "We've got more than half a million children facing preventable death. It's a pending nightmare." In July 2022, USAID announced an additional $1.2 billion in aid on top of the funds already budgeted for child hunger relief, much of which is slated for countries in the Horn of Africa, though it appears greater efforts may be needed.