Famine threatens Somalia due to climate and war in Ukraine

Somalia is on the brink of famine, the UN says. It has not rained enough in the northeast African country for the fourth consecutive rainy season. As a result, the harvests have practically failed.

Food prices have risen dramatically, and the necessary funds for humanitarian aid have not yet been raised. “Hundreds of thousands of Somalis are facing famine and death,” said Etienne Peterschmitt of UN agricultural organization FAO.

About 7.1 million people, about 45 percent of the population, have problems getting enough food for their families. According to the FAO, 1.5 million children are at risk of acute malnutrition. And the conditions don’t just affect people: since mid-2021, about three million animals have died from drought and disease.

Climate change is hitting Somalia particularly hard, says the UN coordinator for Somalia, Adam Abdelmoula. “The information we have is that temperatures in Somalia will have risen by 3.54 degrees by 2080. This makes the country practically uninhabitable in summer,” he says.

According to Abdelmoula, the war in Ukraine is also an important cause of the precarious situation in which Somalia finds itself: “Until recently, 85 percent of all wheat imports came from Russia and Ukraine, 50 percent from Ukraine and 35 percent from Russia.”

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