On November 18, the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) and the United Nations Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU) released the latest analysis of the ongoing drought and famine in Somalia. Three areas of Somalia have been downgraded from famine to emergency. Three other areas, including the internally displaced populations in Mogadishu, have improved but remain classified as famine. These improvements are largely driven by humanitarian assistance, which has significantly improved household food access and contributed to reduced mortality levels. While the number of people at risk of starvation has dropped, the number of people in need of humanitarian assistance remains at 4 million through August 2012.
While we are encouraged by the international community’s response efforts and the impact they are having on saving lives, the crisis is far from over, and the needs are still great. Any decline in the level of international assistance, increase in conflict, and/or new disruptions to humanitarian access or trade could allow famine conditions to reappear in Somalia. Moreover, mortality will remain high over the next six months, driven by diseases such as measles, diarrhea, and malaria.
The United States remains committed to reaching more people and supporting our humanitarian commitment to the Horn of Africa well into 2012. On October 24, I announced an additional $100 million, primarily in food assistance, for drought and conflict-affected populations in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia. With this announcement, the United States government, the largest humanitarian donor to the region, is providing over $750 million to meet ongoing and urgent humanitarian needs, including nearly $175 million in humanitarian assistance for Somalia.