A woman sits after receiving a food parcel at a joint Unicef-World Food Programme Rapid Response Mission, which delivers critical supplies and services to those displaced by conflict, in Nyanapol, South Sudan,  on March 3. The Famine Early Warning Systems Network now forecasts 3.5-million people could starve before this year’s rainy season ends in June. Picture: REUTERS/SIEGFRIED MODOLA
A woman sits after receiving a food parcel at a joint Unicef-World Food Programme Rapid Response Mission, which delivers critical supplies and services to those displaced by conflict, in Nyanapol, South Sudan, on March 3. The Famine Early Warning Systems Network now forecasts 3.5-million people could starve before this year’s rainy season ends in June. Picture: REUTERS/SIEGFRIED MODOLA

Mogadishu — Somali’s newly elected President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed on Tuesday declared a "national disaster" due to severe drought which aid agencies say has left 3-million people in crisis.

The Horn of Africa nation is one of three countries — along with Yemen and Nigeria — on the verge of famine which has already been declared in South Sudan.

The presidency put out a statement, saying: "The president has appealed to the international community to urgently respond to the calamity in order to help families and individuals to recover from the effects of the drought disaster to avoid humanitarian tragedy."

The World Health Organisation warned on Monday that Somalia was at risk of its third famine in 25 years. In the previous one, in 2011, 260,000 people died.

The agency said more than 6.2-million people, or half the population, needed aid urgently, including almost 3-million who are hungry.

The drought causing the food crisis has also led to the spread of acute watery diarrhoea, cholera and measles. Nearly 5.5-million people are at risk of waterborne diseases.

The WHO says more than 363,000 acutely malnourished children and 70,000 severely malnourished children needed urgent, life-saving support.

In South Sudan 100,000 people are in famine conditions. This means 20% of the population in the affected area has extremely limited access to basic food, acute malnutrition is higher than 30%, and more than two people in 10,000 people are dying every day.

Overall, more than 20-million people face starvation in the four countries. Of the four famine alerts, only one — Somalia’s — is caused by drought; the other three stem from conflict, described as "man-made food crises".

AFP

Please login or register to comment.