As world leaders gather at this year’s UN General Assembly, David Miliband, President and CEO of the International Rescue Committee, and Abdirahman Abdishakur, Special Presidential Envoy for Drought Response to the Federal Republic of Somalia, issue a joint statement on the impending famine in Somalia.
and need for urgent action.
“The window to save tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of lives in Somalia is rapidly closing,” said Special Envoy Abdirahman Abdishakur.
“There is still time to prevent massive loss of life, but when famine breaks out, it will be too late.
More than 7 million people, more than half the population of Somalia, are in need of emergency food aid.
300,000 people are at risk of famine unless urgent action is taken, and two million more are on the brink.
Fifty-four percent of children in Somalia are expected to experience acute malnutrition in the next year.
World leaders cannot and must not fail to face this moment.
While there has been a commendable increase in funding, particularly from the United States, the international community at large has not received the necessary support to avert catastrophe.
Donors cannot wait, they must step up now and ensure funding quickly reaches those on the front lines best placed to avert humanitarian catastrophe.” David Miliband, President and CEO of the International Rescue Committee, said: “The world has pledged ‘never again’ to allow a famine to develop in Somalia or to act so late, but little more than a decade later, without international action Immediately, a catastrophic famine will hit parts of Somalia in October.
In 2011, half of all deaths in the region occurred before famine was declared.
It should be a shame that history risks repeating itself.
The number of people in pre-famine or famine-like conditions in Somalia has increased by 500% since the beginning of the year.In one IRC malnutrition clinic in Somalia alone, acute cases increased by more than 800% in just four months.
The IRC has operated in Somalia for decades We commend Somalia’s creation of the role of Special Envoy to mobilize the international community We appreciate our partnership with the government as We are moving forward to save lives, but we need more support.” Uniquely vulnerable to food insecurity, East Africa is now mired in the lingering economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, escalating internal conflict, rising food and fuel prices as a result of the fallout from war in Ukraine and the worst drought in decades aggravated by climate change.
During this UNGA high-level week, member states and multilateral agencies must mount a rapid and focused international response to the famine, with the aim of preventing the worst impacts in Somalia.
Mr. Miliband and Mr. Abdishakur urge the international community to take the following actions: Donors must fully fund the $1.5 billion humanitarian appeal for Somalia, less than 70% funded to date, and ensure further direct funding for frontline responders.
The UN High-Level Task Force on Famine Prevention should focus its efforts on countries most at risk of famine, including Somalia.
The task force must engage with key stakeholders to address future responses to potential famines and mobilize funds early on.
While early warning systems accurately predict food insecurity, political will and investment are needed to build resilience through robust, long-term, multisectoral interventions that can start well before famine is likely to break out.
Climate adaptation financing is an indispensable part of these efforts and will have the added benefit of helping to address the needs of millions of people already living with the worst impacts of the climate crisis.
Donors, UNICEF, WFP and WHO must support national nutrition programs in adopting new models of care that simplify and decentralize the treatment of undernutrition, with children and caregivers at the center.
Numerous studies show that a simplified combined protocol using a single product, a simplified dosing schedule, and simplified diagnostic criteria is equally effective in curing children, but is more cost-effective and easier to scale than the more complex, standard approach.
The inefficiencies of the current bifurcated system have resulted in an 80% treatment gap, with 4 out of 5 wasted children unable to access the treatment they need.