A United Nations emergency relief coordinator has said more than two million men, women and children could die of starvation in Somalia by summer’s end if international aid is not sent quickly to the drought-stricken African country.
UN Undersecretary-General Mark Lowcock says about $700 million is needed after a rainless season that has killed both livestock and crops. He said Tuesday that the U.N.’s Central Emergency Response Fund has allocated $45 million to cover food shortages, water and daily necessities in Somalia as well as parts of Kenya and Ethiopia affected by droughts.
Of a Somali population of 15 million people, more than 3 million are struggling just to meet minimum food requirements, he said, and the shortages are about 40 percent worse now than this past winter.
“What was forecast to be an average rainy season in Somalia is now one of the driest on record in over 35 years,” he said. “Communities that were already vulnerable due to past droughts are again facing severe hunger and water scarcity and are at risk from deadly communicable diseases.”