UN food agency calls for urgent support for Somalia

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Addis Ababa, 4 June 2014 (WIC) - The United Nation Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) on Monday (June 2) issued a strong warning about food security in Somalia, launching an urgent appeal for $18 million to stop hunger spreading.

It said last year's harvest was poor and prices are rising as food stocks from 2013 were being rapidly depleted, adding that the situation was now being exacerbated by late rains, erratic weather and the continuing conflict.
The FAO estimated there were 860,000 people in need of humanitarian assistance in Somalia, including 200,000 malnourished children under the age of five.

It said it was "urgently seeking" $18 million to scale up "rapid interventions" over the next three months to prevent the food security situation getting even worse.
The FAO said "Conditions are expected to improve slightly in August and September when the harvest is ready for consumption, but the positive impact is likely to be moderate given the unfavorable prospects of the current season."

The next three months are particularly important because it is the “hunger season”, the three months before the main harvest which starts in August.
The Gu rains, April through June, have been late and erratic, and followed a poor harvest in January in southern Somalia. Maize and Sorghum prices have risen between 60 and 80-percent compared to April last year.

The FAO officer for Somalia and Kenya, Luca Alinovi, said "The people of Somalia cannot simply wait for the results of the next harvest. They need urgent help."