Below average rain in Somalia, but famine unlikely
The UN’s Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU) in Somalia has said that Somalia’s most recent main rainy season is going to be below average.
The FSNAU said Somalia wasn’t likely to have a “very great, promising harvest in the coming season because of rainfall performance". The long rains, which began in April, started a couple of weeks late in some parts of the country and rainfall distribution has been erratic, hampering crop growth. Equally, there has been no total failure as occurred last year, so FSNAU does not believe the country will slip back into famine.
The previous season’s harvest in January was good and food stocks were still available. Cereal prices are between 40 and 70 percent lower nationwide than at the time of the peak of the famine last year. In the south, hardest hit last year, prices have fallen by 200 percent. Livestock were healthy and fetching good prices.
At the same time more humanitarian organizations are now able to access larger parts of the country as Al-Shabaab is being forced out of various areas.
The famine in 2011 followed several consecutive rain failures, widespread conflict and Al-Shabaab’s bans on the activities of international agencies. With a good harvest and increased humanitarian assistance the number of Somalis in urgent need of aid has fallen from four million to 2.5 million today, and the numbers of children under five suffering ‘severe acute malnutrition’, who need therapeutic feeding, have halved but still number 98,000.
FSNAU warns, however, that these improvements could easily be reversed if drought conditions return or if conflict worsens.
Source: A Week in the Horn – June 1, 2012 issue.