The number of Somalis needing aid has fallen by more than half a million because of increased food production, mostly in the south of the Horn of Africa state, a survey showed yesterday.
In August last year 3.76 million people, about half the population, needed humanitarian aid. But a report by the UN’s Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU) said the number in need had now been reduced to 3.2 million.
“There has been a drop because there was above-normal rainfall in the agricultural areas and farmers took the opportunity of good rains,” Grainne Moloney, the FSNAU’s acting chief technical advisor, told Reuters.
Fighting has killed 21 000 Somalis since the start of 2007 and driven 1.5 million from their homes.
Amid the chaos, Western security agencies say the country has become a safe haven for militants, including foreign jihadists, who use it plot attacks in the region and beyond.
The FSNAU survey showed maize and sorghum production had boomed in southern Somalia which is mostly under the control of the hardline al Shabaab insurgent group.
“We expect the good harvest in the south to ease hyperinflation in central regions, though that has not been seen happening yet,” Moloney added.
Populations in Hiran and other central Somali regions that enjoyed less rainfall remained in crisis, said Moloney.
The FSNAU was set up by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation to provide aid agencies with reliable data from the lawless country.
Pic: World Food Programme