Severe drought in Somalia and continued violence in South Sudan are threatening more than 8.5 million people with severe food insecurity according to humanitarian agencies.
As reported by OOSKAnews in May this year, failure of spring rains in Somalia have put almost 1.7 million people in acute food insecurity. This is two times more than in the most recent drought of 2017. Current estimates suggest that by the end of September another 500,000 will also be affected. Alarmingly, the number of people reached with food assistance for the first six months of 2019 declined by almost 50% compared to the previous six months.
Five years of conflict in South Sudan has left over 7 million people in severe food insecurity.
Agencies including the International Rescue Committee (IRC), continue to seek intervention to avert famine and to assist with massive displacement and food price inflation.
Dr. Mesfin Teklu Tessema, Senior Director of Health of IRC, called (July 31) for "early action and increased humanitarian support to these countries now in order to avert famine and save lives".
IRC particularly cited the levels of food insecurity and famine for children. Approximately 1 million children in Somalia and over 850,000 in South Sudan are expected to suffer from acute malnutrition this year, with only about 20 percent with access to treatment.
The agency anticipates additional stress on internal displacement centers as the drought progresses, with an increase in the numbers seeking assistance.
Since the IRC began working in Somalia in 1981 in the aftermath of the Somalia-Ethiopia conflict, operations have faced several interruptions due to insecurity and civil unrest but have been continuous since 2007.