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Impact of Ukraine draws away focus on food crisis in Somalia – WFP

The Russia and Ukraine conflict is having an impact on the situation in Somalia which is facing famine conditions, the United Nations agencies said.

The World Food Programme (WFP) said that up to 85 percent of Somalia’s wheat imports came from Russia and Ukraine. However, the conflict has led to price increases of 160 percent in just one month in Somalia.

“I know that the world is very much occupied by Ukraine, but human suffering is human suffering, no matter whether in Europe or Asia or Africa. And here we have to live up to our moral values, and [according to] our moral values, humanity matters – if we are not responding now and we are not increasing our response, those people will be heading to famine. And that is not acceptable,” said WFP’s Representative and Country Director, El-Khidir Daloum.

WFP’s Representative and Country Director, El-Khidir Daloum said in a joint press release issued on Wednesday evening.

Daloum, who was part of the UN delegation that visited Dollow, Somalia’s Southwest to assess the humanitarian situation there and highlight the dire state in which millions of Somalis find themselves, called for urgent assistance to avert famine.

The UN has warned that a perfect storm of poor rain, skyrocketing food prices and huge funding shortfalls leaves almost 40 percent of Somalis on the brink.

According to the UN agencies including the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and UNICEF, the conflict in Ukraine, as well as other crises in Ethiopia’s Tigray region, Yemen and Afghanistan, has also drawn attention away from Somalia.

The UN said it plans to hold a high-level meeting in Geneva later this month to bring together international donors on the issue of more support for Somalia’s humanitarian needs.

All of the indicators are that this situation will get more severe because we are expecting probably a fourth failed rainy season, ”said OCHA’s Deputy Head of Office Peter Ekayu.

According to the UN, weather forecasts are predicting an average to below-average rainy season for Somalia. More than 80 percent of the country has remained generally dry, and water and staple food prices have experienced dramatic price hikes.

The UN said the current levels of food and water assistance are quickly being outpaced by the rapid increase in the size of the food insecure population, widening of household food consumption gaps, loss of livelihood assets, and worsening acute malnutrition levels.

If the funding gap is not urgently addressed, it will contribute to worse outcomes with a real risk of widespread famine, the Un warned.

The last time such a humanitarian tragedy struck Somalia was in 2011 when famine conditions killed a quarter of a million people.

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