About 2.1 million people in Somalia face acute food insecurity through to December due to severe drought that has ravaged several parts of the country, the UN has said.
According to the assessment by the Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU), which was managed by UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), an estimated 1 million children under the age of five were likely to be acutely malnourished through to mid-2020.
Although the 2019 Deyr/short rains (October-December) are forecast to be average to above-average, the positive impact on food security will not be realised until late 2019," the UN said in its report on 2019 post-Gu (long rains) seasonal food security and nutrition assessment, conducted across Somalia in June-July.
However, according to the report, which was released in Mogadishu, seasonal production activities will mitigate more severe deterioration during this period.
According to FSNAU, sustained and large-scale humanitarian assistance through September, would prevent more severe outcomes in many areas.
The UN warned that food security was expected to deteriorate in the absence of humanitarian assistance from October to December.
According to the UN, the current high levels of food insecurity were exacerbated by below-average and erratically distributed rainfall during the 2019 Gu season (April-June), which began late and ended early.
"Many households are still recovering from the severe 2016/2017 drought or have been affected by conflict, and 2.6 million people remain displaced," the UN said.
Access to milk
The Gu cereal harvest failed in most regions, leaving most poor agropastoral and riverine households unable to meet their minimum food needs, it said.
"In pastoral areas, the impact of the drought on livestock led to a lack of access to milk, and many poor households have accumulated large debts while struggling to feed their families and rescue their remaining livestock," the report said.