A child eats specialised fortified food to treat malnutrition (Copyright: WFP/Susannah Nicol
WFP is reaching up to 1.3 million people with food relief in those parts of Somalia to which we have access. These include Puntland, Somaliland, central regions, Mogadishu and some border areas of the south. To assist the most vulnerable, WFP has increased its nutrition programmes using specialized products both to prevent and treat malnutrition in young children, pregnant women and nursing mothers. Nutrition programmes now make up some 63 percent of WFP's activities in Somalia.
According to the Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU) for Somalia and the Famine Early Warning System Network (FEWS NET), there are now no famine zones in southern Somalia, but some areas remain critically food-insecure as a result of prolonged drought during recent years, lack of humanitarian access, conflict and high food prices.
A number of factors have led to an improvement in the situation across much of the country, including humanitarian assistance, better market performance and, following the October-November rainy season, a good Deyr harvest. However, this harvest still only makes up between 10 and 20 percent of the overall cereal production the country requires annually. The country itself only produces 40 percent of its total annual food requirements.
According to FSNAU and FEWS Net, some 2.3 million people are estimated to remain in crisis, with 1.7 million of these in the south. Of the 235,000 children estimated to be in crisis, 70 percent live in the south. WFP is particularly concerned about the well-being of those vulnerable people who remain beyond the reach of humanitarian assistance in much of southern Somalia.
The situation in Somalia remains extremely fragile, and positive gains might easily be reversed by one or more factors, including outbreaks of disease, insecurity, conflict and the April-June Gu rains which are expected to be below average. Therefore, continued assitance to mitigate the negative trends is essential.
Refugees and displaced
While the situation has improved since the height of the drought last year, hundreds of thousands of Somalis continue to languish in refugee camps in Kenya and Ethiopia. UNHCR estimates that some 1.3 million people are internally displaced within Somalia, with most of these found in camps in and around Mogadishu and in the Afgoye corridor.