• FAO calls for urgent response to avoid massive casualties

 United Nations Food and Agricultural organization (FAO) has said that about 12 million people in Africa are in need of food assistance, as families face limited access to food and income, together with rising debt, low cereal and seed stocks, and low milk and meat production.

Report indicate that areas of greatest concern cover much of Somalia, north-east and coastal Kenya, south-east of Ethiopia including the Afar regions yet to recover from El Nino induced drought of 2015/16; as well as  South Sudan which faces a serious food crisis due to protracted insecurity.

Acute food shortages and malnutrition also remain a major concern in parts of Uganda’s Karamoja region.

While reacting to this, FAO Deputy Director-General, Climate and Natural Resources, Maria Semedo described the situation as worrisome, expressing concerns on the effect this would have on food security.

“The drought situation in the Region is extremely worrying, primarily in almost all of Somalia but also across Southern and South-eastern Ethiopia, and northern Kenya. As a consequence, with the next rains at least eight weeks away and the next main harvest not until July, millions are at risk of food insecurity across the region” she said

Semedo therefore called for urgent humanitarian interventions to avoid a repeat of the famine in the region in 2011.

“The magnitude of the situation calls for scaled up action and coordination at national and regional levels. This is, above all, a livelihoods and humanitarian emergency – and the time to act is now. We cannot wait for a disaster like the famine in 2011” Semedo pleaded.

AgroNigeria recall that on the July 20 2011, the UN declared famine in two regions of South Central Somalia. The famine was said to have cost the lives of over 258,000 people, while hundreds of thousands more fled across the border into Kenya and Ethiopia