Somalia is at a “tipping point”, with hundreds of thousands of people at immediate risk of famine, the heads of the UN’s highest-level humanitarian coordination forum have warned.
In a statement issued on Monday, the principals of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) called for increased support and humanitarian access to save lives.
Famine is already unfolding in Baidoa and Burhakaba districts in south-central Somalia, and they said the situation will likely last until March if aid is not significantly and immediately scaled up.
millions more Somalis face extreme levels of acute hunger. Women, particularly pregnant and lactating women, as well as children under five, are among the most vulnerable and require urgent assistance now to avoid a worst-case scenario.
“Starvation and death are likely already occurring. During the 2011 famine, about 50 per cent of the more than 250,000 people who died, did so before the official declaration. At least half were children,” they said.