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Fighting Hunger in Somalia

A young girl stands near the grave of her twin sisters who died of hunger in Somalia.

Five failed rainy seasons, with a sixth expected in the spring have resulted in wide-spread hunger throughout the country.

Fighting Hunger in Somalia
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Somalia has been suffering through a prolonged, unprecedented drought. Five failed rainy seasons, with a sixth expected in the spring have resulted in wide-spread hunger throughout the country. Exacerbating the situation are conflicts, such as the one caused by al-Shabaab, or Russia’s unprovoked attack on Ukraine, which is one of the world’s largest exporters of food. And making a bad situation worse are repercussions of the COVID pandemic, which sparked a supply chain crisis.

“The humanitarian situation in Somalia is as dire as any in the world right now,” said U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield. “This combination of COVID, conflict, and climate … brought that horrific word back to Somalia. Famine,” she said.

“Famine is the ultimate failure of the international community. In a world abundant with food, entire communities should never, ever have to starve to death.”

Tens of thousands of Somalis are thought to have died of hunger, although there are no accurate numbers as to how many. According to UNICEF, more than a half-million Somali children under the age of 5 are suffering from severe acute malnutrition. The fields lie fallow and millions of livestock have died, causing further distress.

Since the beginning of the 2022 fiscal year, the United States has provided more than 2.5 billion dollars of lifesaving assistance to the Horn of Africa, and 1.3 billion of that went directly to Somalia. On January 29, Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield announced that the United States, through the U.S. Agency for International Development, or USAID, is providing more than 41 million dollars in new, urgently-needed assistance for the people of Somalia.

“Our funding last year accounted for more than 80 percent of the World Food Program’s emergency operations in the Horn of Africa. Four times greater than the contributions of all other countries combined. That aid has brought food, water, shelter to the Somali people,” said Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield.

“The United States cannot do this alone. This is a collective responsibility. This is about our shared humanity,” she said.

“The United States is asking other donors and the world to go bigger and be bolder. This is the moment to bolster your humanitarian contributions. To make a difference in the lives of the most vulnerable. To provide food and nutrition and health care access, access to water, sanitation, and shelter. To save lives. To give people dignity.”