UN calls for urgent efforts to save lives in drought-hit Somalia

UN calls for urgent efforts to save lives in drought-hit Somalia
# 02 September 2014 19:48 (UTC +04:00)

Baku-APA. The UN top humanitarian chief for Somalia on Tuesday called for concerted efforts to save lives and prevent a free fall in the Horn of Africa nation where more than 1 million face food acute shortages, APA mreports quoting Xinhua.

UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia Philippe Lazzarini said decisive measures will be required to ensure that Somalis future is not ruined.

Lazzarini said aid organizations have began using air cargo flights to areas with no road access, adding that this was simply not sufficient to deliver the volume of humanitarian assistance required.

"Securing road access for commercial and humanitarian supplies in addition to having more resources is tantamount to the sustained delivery," Lazzarini said and expressed concern by the serious deterioration in the food security situation in Somalia.

The new assessment findings by the Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit and the Famine Early Warning Systems Network reflect a significant decline, owing to a lethal mix of drought, surging food prices and conflict.

Over 1 million people in Somalia face acute food insecurity today, up by 20 percent from 857,000 six months ago, bringing the total number of people in need of humanitarian assistance or livelihood support to over 3 million.

Lazzarini said after gradual rebuilding of livelihoods since the 2011 famine that cost over 250,000 lives in excess mortality, fragile gains are now being eroded and malnutrition rates are again on the rise.

"Coping capacities are severely stretched and vulnerable families risk being pushed further into destitution," he said.

The report says as many as 218,000 acutely malnourished children under the age of 5 require emergency nutrition supplement, access to clean water, and better hygiene.

It says 43,800 children are so severely malnourished that they will die if they do not receive medical treatment and therapeutic food.

Lazzarini said partners have been able to step up efforts to urgently address the most critical needs across the country in response to the unfolding crisis thanks to contributions from donors and humanitarian partners.

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