Mar 22, 2023
A long drought may have claimed the lives of 43,000 people in Somalia in 2022. Half of those killed may have been children under 5. That's according to a report. The World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF, and the nation’s health ministry released the report. It says that more could die this year.
The estimate is more than the 31,400 believed to have died between 2017 and 2018. The report says that drought-related deaths could climb as high as 34,000 in Somalia in the first half of 2023.
“We are racing against time to prevent deaths,” said Somalia’s WHO representative. “The cost of our inaction will mean that…vulnerable people will pay with their lives.”
Somalia has suffered from five straight years of failed rainy seasons. It could be headed for a sixth. According to the United Nations (UN) World Food Program, more than a third of the country’s 17 million people face acute food insecurity. Nearly a quarter-million people are in danger of hunger.
The current Somali crisis has not been labeled a famine yet. However, one expert said last fall that “famine is at the door” in Somalia.
Hunger is one of multiple crises affecting Somalia. Among others: political instability and rising food prices. Prices have been driven upward by the COVID-19 pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Photo from Reuters.
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