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Saturday, February 4, 2012

UN declares end to famine in Somalia

An end has been declared over the drought in the Horn of Africa by the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO).

The drought, NaijaAgroNet gathered, affected over 13 million of people and claimed thousands of lives.

The United Nations also made a sound warning that with the recurrent droughts in that part of the continent, hunger remains a threat to life unless long-term measures are taken in restoring food security.

At the height of the food crisis, about 750,000 people are at risk of death, as was disclosed to NaijaAgroNet in a press release by FAO.

According to a new report jointly prepared by FAO-managed Food Security and Nutrition analysis Unit (FSNAU) and USAID's Famine Early Warning System Network (FEWS NET) revealed that there has been a reduction in people that need emergency humanitarian assistance in Somalia from 4 million to 2.34million, amounting to 31 per cent of the population.

The reduction in the number of victims, FAO Director-General, Jose Graniano da Silva said links to the long-awaited rains coupled with substantial agricultural inputs and response from humanitarian organisations in the last six month.

“However, the crisis is not over. It can only be resolved with a combination of rains and continued, coordinated, long-term actions that build up the resilience of local populations and link relief with development," he said.

He further said that drought could be avoided but measures could equally be put in place in order to prevent drought turning into famine, and assured FAO would boost current efforts to the affected region.

Highlighting some of the responses, the Director General confirmed FAO had distributed seeds and fertilizers to Somali farmers, and the rehabilitation of 594 kilometers of irrigation canals and treating 2.6 million livestock at risk of diseases and infections associated with drought.

After visiting villages in Somalia, he said “I had a rare opportunity to meet with Somali farmers and herders in Dollow. I witnessed the impact that we can make in their lives. And, most importantly, I saw what they can do for themselves, if they receive the right support at the right time.”
Jose Graniano da Silva further urged stakeholders to renew their commitment to fighting the drought while assuring of FAO's commitment to work within the framework of existing initiatives such as the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP).
Further, NaijaAgroNet gathered that within 2009 and 2010, the UN agency, FAO had assisted 1,500 agricultural households and 35,000 pastoralists’ households in Gedo Region to boost their resilience in order to cope with the recent famine without outside assistance.
'Yinka Awosanya/LS
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