Somalia on Verge of New Famine as Donors Fail to Provide Funding

War-torn Somalia is on the verge of another humanitarian crisis and may face another famine unless donor funding is received, a United Nations official said.

Less than a fifth of the $933 million needed to fund humanitarian work in the Horn of Africa country has been received and primary health-care services will be cut if $60 million isn’t received in the next two months, Philippe Lazzarini, the UN humanitarian coordinator for Somalia, told reporters today in Nairobi, the Kenyan capital.

“We are at risk of slipping back to a crisis situation only two years after the famine, after we collectively said ‘never again,’” he said.

More than a quarter of a million people died in a famine in Somalia that lasted from October 2011 to April 2012, partly because the international community did not act quickly enough, the UN said in May 2013. At least 2.9 million people in Somalia are currently in need of food aid and another 2 million are struggling to meet their own minimal-food requirements, the UN said today.

Continuing conflict between African Union-backed government forces and al-Qaeda-linked militants, drought and a lack of funding because of competing crises in South Sudan and Syria is risking millions of Somali lives, Lazzarini said.