UN says favorable weather improves food security in Somalia

Two women walk through maize fields on a small scale farm in the Trans Mzoia region of Kenya, on Wednesday, May 24, 2017. A fall armyworm outbreak in Kenya has affected more than a government estimate of more than 100,000 hectares just weeks ago, according to Director of Crops in Agriculture Ministry Johnson Irungu. Photographer: Riccardo Gangale/Bloomberg

MOGADISHU, Aug. 14 (Xinhua) — Favorable weather conditions experienced during the main (Gu) rainy season combined with a large-scale humanitarian assistance, have improved the food security situation in Somalia, the UN said on Tuesday.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said the April-June rains started earlier than normal and was significantly above average, breaking the downward trend which has emerged during the last two years. It however said the gains are, however, still fragile.

“The favorable weather conditions brought about by the Gu rains (April-June) have had a relatively positive impact on livestock conditions, water, pasture availability in Somalia,” OCHA said in its latest report.

The Horn of Africa nation experienced a prolonged drought from late 2016 through late 2017 that resulted in significant livestock losses and consecutive seasons of below-average production, causing severe and at times extreme acute food insecurity.

The UN said the rains that pounded Somalia early this year were not without negative impacts as severe flooding resulted in deaths, temporary displacements and damage to infrastructure and cropland.

According to the UN humanitarian agency, the cyclone Sagar has equally had a devastating impact in the North, especially in the Awdal district of Somaliland.

“More than 2.6 million people are displaced, evictions of Internally Displace Persons (IDPs) are on the rise, and in total more the 5.4 million people — around 43 per cent of the population — need humanitarian assistance in Somalia,” said the UN.

Somalia Humanitarian Fund (SHF) said it has so far this year allocated or set aside nearly 35 million U.S. dollars to life-saving activities in most regions of Somalia.

“Almost 22 million dollars was allocated to 52 projects through the First 2018 Standard Allocation, which included intensified response to floods in Bay, Galgaduud, Hiraan and Middle Shabelle,” it said.

According to the UN, despite some improvements, the lack of resources continues to restrict humanitarian actors’ ability to sustain response across the country.

“Donors support is urgently needed to avoid another deterioration of the humanitarian situation in Somalia,” said the UN.

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