BEIRUT

Middle East

U.N. warns of alarming malnutrition rates in Somali capital

A photo taken Jan. 19, 2012 shows displaced Somali children queuing as they wait for food-aid rations at a distribution center in Mogadishu. (AFP/Tony Karumba)

MOGADISHU: The United Nations has reported alarming rates of malnutrition in the Somali capital where aid agencies cannot meet the needs of 350,000 people due to insufficient funds, drought and conflict.

The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said the Somali government had compared the situation to the run-up to a 2011 famine that killed 260,000 people.

The United Nations has sought to improve its early warning mechanisms after its failure to spot indications of crisis in 2010 was blamed for the scale of the famine that followed in a nation torn apart by years of conflict.

"Alarming rates of malnutrition have been observed among displaced communities in Mogadishu," OCHA said in a report released over the weekend, citing a study by a unit of the U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization.

It said aid agencies were unable to meet the needs of 350,000 people who had fled to Mogadishu, saying the aid organizations faced a shortage of funds and violence in the capital that could restrict deliveries.

Al-Shabab rebels, seeking to topple the Western-backed government and impose their own strict interpretation of Islam, have staged a series of attacks in Mogadishu during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, which ends this week.

"The humanitarian community is mobilising resources to address the serious situation, but the significant shortfall in funding for humanitarian activities has undermined the capacity to respond," OCHA said of the challenges in Mogadishu.

Because of drought and continued conflict, it said food shortages were expected to worsen in areas mainly in the south and southeast of Somalia.

Earlier this year, African Union forces launched a new drive to push Al-Shabab militants out of other towns and cities. Many people fled their homes in the fighting. Officials have said aid convoys sometimes struggled to reach newly retaken towns.

A U.N. emergency fund had allocated more than $21 million to support humanitarian work in Somalia, including funding a campaign to combat an outbreak of measles, OCHA said.

Overall, OCHA said it had raised less than a third of the $933 million required for its relief work in 2014, which ranges from food provision to health work and basic education.

 

Recommended

Advertisement

Comments

Your feedback is important to us!

We invite all our readers to share with us their views and comments about this article.

Disclaimer: Comments submitted by third parties on this site are the sole responsibility of the individual(s) whose content is submitted. The Daily Star accepts no responsibility for the content of comment(s), including, without limitation, any error, omission or inaccuracy therein. Please note that your email address will NOT appear on the site.

Alert: If you are facing problems with posting comments, please note that you must verify your email with Disqus prior to posting a comment. follow this link to make sure your account meets the requirements. (http://bit.ly/vDisqus)

comments powered by Disqus
Summary

The United Nations has reported alarming rates of malnutrition in the Somali capital where aid agencies cannot meet the needs of 350,000 people due to insufficient funds, drought and conflict.

It said aid agencies were unable to meet the needs of 350,000 people who had fled to Mogadishu, saying the aid organizations faced a shortage of funds and violence in the capital that could restrict deliveries.

A U.N. emergency fund had allocated more than $21 million to support humanitarian work in Somalia, including funding a campaign to combat an outbreak of measles, OCHA said.


Advertisement

FOLLOW THIS ARTICLE

Interested in knowing more about this story?

Click here