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Concern Worldwide is warning that another major food crisis is looming in a number of drought-hit East African countries – with famine facing the worst affected areas. The situation is particularly bad in South Sudan and in Somalia.
Speaking from Somalia, Concern's country director, Abdi Rashid Haji Nur, said:
First, the crops fail, livestock perish and when everything is gone the people either move or die. Half of Somalia's population, 6.2 million, require urgent humanitarian assistance and we already have 1.2 million children suffering from malnutrition with 200,000 severely malnourished.
19.5 million people face severe food insecurity in four countries, Somalia (6.2 million), Ethiopia (5.6 million), Kenya (2.7 million) and South Sudan (5 million). Many children in these countries are suffering from severe malnutrition.
Without a massive scale up of humanitarian assistance, it is estimated that in those four countries alone, 35 million people will be unable to meet their daily food consumption needs by July this year.
A recently published report by Concern ‘Breaking the Cycle’, found that many crises are predictable but too often the response of governments and donors is slow and inadequate, and the opportunity is wasted. This allows preventable problems to escalate into full-scale crises, increasing the levels of hunger, malnutrition and suffering.
The charity is calling on governments and large donors to meet funding needs to prevent the crisis in East Africa from becoming a catastrophe.
Concern Worldwide Chief Executive, Dominic MacSorley said:
We have sophisticated early-warning systems but all too often early warning fails to lead to early action. This is preventable but if we ignore what's happening in Somalia, South Sudan and in other parts of the world, hundreds of thousands, if not millions more people will be struggling to stay alive, fleeing their homes and in need of emergency aid.