More than 100 people in southwestern Somalia died in a 48-hour period due to famine and diarrhea, Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire announced on Saturday.
The tragic news comes shortly after a drought in the southwest part of the country has been declared a “national disaster.”
“It is a difficult situation for the pastoralists and their livestock. Some people have been hit by famine and diarrhea at the same time,” Kaire’s office said in a statement. “In the last 48 hours, 110 people died due to famine and diarrhea in the Bay region.”
“The Somali government will do its best, and we urge all Somalis wherever they are to help and save the dying Somalis,” the statement said.
Somalia is on the verge of its third famine in the last 25 years. The last one, in 2011, took 260,000 lives.
The World Health Organization (WHO) reports more than 6.2 million people in Somalia urgently need humanitarian aid, with 3 million facing a crisis in food security. The lack of food and access to clean water has left more than 360,000 children acutely malnourished, 70,000 of which require, “urgent and life-saving support.” The UN estimates that, without an effective response, those figures will double in 2017.
There aren’t many in Somalia with the capability to help their countrymen, hence Khaire’s global call to action.
Al Jazeera reports, thousands have fled to the capital city of Mogadishu to search for aid, with more than 7,000 checking into one feeding center alone.
Attacks from the armed group al-Shabab have added to political insecurity, rendering internal solutions far from likely.
The United Nations has requested $825 million to address the famine, $10 million of which is required by the WHO. The World Food Programme has requested an additional $26 million to combat the drought. Countless other non-profits and NGOs are working on the ground as well.
The UN formally declared a famine in South Sudan, and identified Somalia as an at-risk region along with northeastern Nigeria and Yemen. Recent events indicate Somalia’s status might be upgraded.
Regardless of official declarations, millions of people are facing death from starvation and malnutrition.
But they don’t have to – not if Global Citizens around the world respond.