United Nations (UN) states must immediately address the famine and drought faced by the People of Somalia and throughout the Horn of Africa. UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, Mark Bowden, warns that if the international community fails to respond immediately with aid relief, famine will likely spread to all eight regions of Somalia, endangering the lives of millions more people. The UN has requested $1.6 billion in donations to adequately address the needs of the 12 million people affected by the drought in the Horn of Africa, but to date only received half that amount. The international community has responded to the drought in the Horn of Africa at an alarmingly slow rate. Now is the time to act. Let the lessons of past neglect and the UN appeal for humanitarian aid serve as a catalyst for the swift international mobilization of aid. Assistance is needed to provide survivors of drought, famine, and warfare with the basic means of survival, including food, water, shelter, medical care, and sanitation. These needs cannot wait.
On Wednesday, July 20th, the UN declared the Bakool and Lower Shabelle regions of Somalia to be in a state of famine. In more specific terms, this means that rates of acute malnutrition in these regions are above 30%, at least 2 people per 10,000 are dying every day, average daily caloric intake is well below the recommended 2,100, and average water consumption falls below 4 liters per day. Although famine was officially declared only days ago, the Somali people have endured years of hardship that has led to this ultimate crisis. Three years of failed rain seasons have destroyed crops and livestock.