UN-backed report warns of food emergency in Somalia

Map of Somalia

27 February 2004 – More than 200,000 people in the north and centre of Somalia are facing food shortages and starvation brought on by a long period of drought considered the worst in 30 years, a new report from the United Nations, the European Union (EU) and the United States says.

Several years of below normal rainfall have adversely affected pastoralists in the two areas, leading to the deaths of 20 to 80 per cent of their livestock and loss of income from sales of milk and meat, according to the report from the UN-EU Food Security Assessment Unit and the US Agency for International Development's (USAID) Famine Early Warning Systems Network.

While local incomes have been falling, the cost of trucking water to the area has risen, according to the report.

Some 10 per cent of the population, or 89,100 people, in the districts are in a humanitarian crisis, while another 113,900 are suffering from a severe decline in their livelihoods. The situation is worst on the Sool Plateau in the north, where 64,000 people are in a food emergency, the report says.

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