By Mohammed Dhaysane
MOGADISHU, Somalia (AA) - The UN humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths announced on Monday that famine is at the door in Somalia.
At a news conference in the capital Mogadishu, Griffiths said 213,000 people are living in “famine-like conditions” in the Horn of African country which is the most drought-affected country in the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) region.
IGAD is an eight-member regional bloc of the Horn of Africa and neighboring countries – Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, and Uganda.
"I have been shocked to my core these past few days by the level of pain and suffering we see so many Somalis enduring. Famine is at the door, and today we are receiving a final warning," he said.
Griffiths also said Somalia's food security and nutrition analysis report shows concrete indications that famine will occur in two areas in the southern Bay region, particularly in the Baidoa and Burhakaba districts between October and December this year.
"The situation and trends resemble those seen in 2010-2011, in that crisis. Except now they are worse," he noted.
"The unprecedented failure of four consecutive rainy seasons, decades of conflict, mass displacement, severe economic issues are pushing many people to that brink of famine. And these conditions are likely to last through to at least March 2023," Griffiths added.
Somalia is witnessing one of the worst droughts in the country's recent history that have already killed hundreds of children and displaced over 1 million people.
According to the UN, 7.8 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance as the drought has also affected 28% of the country’s livestock population this year.
The Somali government last year declared the drought a national emergency.