AFRICA/SOMALIA - Caritas Somalia: four million Somalis in critical condition, 250,000 at risk of hunger

Mogadishu (Agenzia Fides) - According to FSNAU (Food Security Analysis Unit, an organization sponsored by the European Commission and by USAID), four million people are in conditions of food insecurity in Somalia, of these, three million people are in the south of the Country. About 250,000 people are in hunger looming. It is estimated that over two thirds of the 250,000 Somalis live in urban areas while the rest are located in rural areas. This is what the sixth Situational Report of Caritas Somalia reports, sent to Fides. The document recalls that the famine in Somalia has two main causes: the scarcity of rainfall in the previous two seasons (October-December 2010 and April-June 2011) and the lack of a prompt humanitarian response in the south in September-October 2011. This last factor comes from the combination of an inadequate response on behalf of the international community and by the severely limited access to humanitarian assistance in the area because of the policy of the Shabaab. Southern Somalia is now the scene of fighting between Shabaab and troops of Kenya, officially intervened to put an end to the raids of bandits in the Somali territory. On 28 November, the Shabaab expelled 16 aid agencies and some offices were ransacked. Because of this policy, between 400,000 and 600,000 people in the area will no longer be assisted by humanitarian organizations. After the drought, heavy rains and floods which hit parts of Somalia. The most affected areas are located in the basin of the river Juba, in southern Somalia (Gedo and Lower Juba). The rains have caused severe floods that have invaded agricultural land causing loss of crops. The situation in Somalia remains extremely difficult. For 2012, Caritas intends to focus its activities, among others, in the following areas: treatment and prevention of diseases such as cholera; sending food or money to buy food in local markets; drinking water supply and sanitation services, medical and psychological support especially for women and children victims of sexual violence. Among the partners of Caritas Somalia, there are: Caritas Germany and Diakonia Germany, Caritas Switzerland/ Luxembourg; Trocaire and CRS. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 11/01/2012)