Drought, rising food and fuel prices and ongoing conflict are leading to famine in Somalia, says Concern Worldwide.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has warned that by summer 2022, 350,000 of the 1.4m “severely malnourished” children in the country may perish if nothing is done to help them now.

Concern says its teams on the ground are trucking water and other aid into drought-hit communities, as famine threat worsens.

“It is too late when children start dying from severe malnutrition and disease. Tragically, it is children who are always the first to suffer,” said Concern’s Somalia country director, Abdi-Rashid Haji Nur.

Food insecurity

Somalia, which was ranked last in the 2021 Global Hunger Index measuring food insecurity in 135 nations, has also seen significant livestock deaths as pasture and water have vanished and agricultural land has become unusable due to drought.

A spokesperson for Concern said: “Concern is in areas that have a very high risk of famine declaration and where people struggle to find enough clean water and food for themselves and their children. They come to Concern and its partner-run nutrition clinics in desperate need of support.”

Ukraine impact

The calls from Concern come as farmers from Ukraine warn that their inability to produce and export their traditional food output will lead to starvation and refugee migration in many other countries.

Some 36% of the wheat imported into Ethiopia, 50% of that to Lebanon and 41% of that to Libya came from Ukraine in 2021, according to the Ukrainian Agribusiness Club (UCAB).

According to Global Hunger Index, 47 countries had “high levels” of hunger in 2021 and the war in Ukraine is estimated to have brought this number to more than 60 countries in 2022.

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