GENEVA / SOMALIA AND SOUTH SUDAN HUNGER

12-Apr-2022 00:02:50
The threat of famine is very real in Somalia and South Sudan and urgent action is needed now to avoid a catastrophe; UN humanitarians warned. UNTV CH
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STORY: GENEVA / SOMALIA AND SOUTH SUDAN HUNGER
TRT: 02:49
SOURCE: UNTV CH
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 12 APRIL 2022, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND / FILE
SHOTLIST
FILE - GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

1. Wide shot, exterior Palais des Nations

12 APRIL 2022, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

2. Wide shot, TV camera and tripod in foreground, podium speaker and TV screens on both sides to rear,
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Lara Fossi, Deputy Country Director in Somalia, World Food Programme (WFP):
“This is a heads-up that this assessment is showing that we are already identifying six areas in Somalia that are at risk of famine, that are at risk of going down that route of 2011 if we don't act now.”
4. Close up, TV screen showing speakers.
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Meshack Malo, Representative in South Sudan, Food and Agriculture Organization:
“Two-thirds of the country will likely face hunger between May and July of this year. In terms of actual numbers, that means this is about 7.74 million people; this is the highest number ever recorded.”
6. Close up, participants
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Lara Fossi, Deputy Country Director in Somalia, World Food Programme (WFP):
“There are dozens of camps for the internally displaced people which have grown exponentially in the last few months. Thousands of households are pouring into them from the areas hardest-hit by the drought. They are desperately seeking assistance and when you visit some of these camps, you can see the lines of the new arrivals coming in and many of these people are women and children, and frankly, it's impossible to see them and not be shocked by the visible signs of destitution and life-threatening malnutrition.”
8. Med shot, masked participant checking his phone
9. SOUNDBITE (English) Lara Fossi, Deputy Country Director in Somalia, World Food Programme (WFP):
“The latest data shows how rapidly things are getting worse, with six million people now facing acute food insecurity in the coming months. This is almost double the number at the start of the year. It's almost 40 per cent of the population and there is a real risk of famine in some areas if the current rainy season fails.”
10. Close up, TV screen displaying speakers
11. SOUNDBITE (English) Meshack Malo, Representative in South Sudan, Food and Agriculture Organization:
“Of the 7.74 million people, an estimated 87,000 people will face catastrophe (that is IPC Phase 5). This is a level of acute food insecurity, which is normally characterized by extreme hunger in the face of limited or no coping options.”
12. Close up, fingers typing on laptop
13. SOUNDBITE (English) Meshack Malo, Representative in South Sudan, Food and Agriculture Organization:
“In South Sudan, 1.34 million children are malnourished severely. And over 600,000 pregnant and lactating women are malnourished this year, from these results.”
14. Med shot, participants following the presser in foreground, TV screen displaying the speakers to rear
15. Med shot, following the presser in foreground, TV camera with tripod to rear
16. Close up, participant looking at laptop screen in foreground, TV camera with tripod to rear
STORYLINE
The threat of famine is very real in Somalia and South Sudan and urgent action is needed now to avoid a catastrophe; UN humanitarians warned today (12 Apr).

The alert from the World Food Programme (WFP) and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) followed the latest food security assessments which showed that six million people in Somalia will face acute food insecurity in the coming months unless the rains come.

That is almost double the number at the start of the year, said Lara Fossi, WFP Deputy Country Director in Somalia, who noted that Somalia last endured famine in 2011 and only narrowly avoided it in 2016-2017, thanks to prompt humanitarian intervention.

“This is a heads-up that this assessment is showing that we are already identifying six areas in Somalia that are at risk of famine, that are at risk of going down that route of 2011 if we don't act now,” she said.

The situation is equally devastating in South Sudan, where “two-thirds of the country will likely face hunger between May and July of this year,” said Meshack Malo, FAO Representative in South Sudan, speaking via video teleconference from Juba. “In terms of actual numbers, that means this is about 7.74 million people; this is the highest number ever recorded.”

Famine was declared in two counties of South Sudan in 2017, although prompt international assistance prevented the situation from deteriorating further.

Citing the latest IPC data on food insecurity across South Sudan, Malo noted that 1.34 million children are “malnourished severely. And over 600,000 pregnant and lactating women are malnourished this year.”

The drivers of chronic food insecurity in South Sudan include the civil war that started in 2013 and ended in 2020. It caused widespread destruction, death and displacement, leaving two million people internally displaced and another 2.3 million as refugees in neighbouring countries. Some of the worst flooding in generations has also driven displacement and pushed local communities to breaking point, reducing crop production and dependence on imports which have undermined people’s ability to secure sufficient nutritious food all year round.

Back in Somalia, the devastating effects of successive failed rains have already pushed people to leave their homes in search of food and work.

“There are dozens of camps for the internally displaced people which have grown exponentially in the last few months,” said WFP’s Fossi, speaking via video teleconference from Mogadishu. “Thousands of households are pouring into them from the areas hardest-hit by the drought. They are desperately seeking assistance and when you visit some of these camps, you can see the lines of the new arrivals coming in and many of these people are women and children, and frankly, it's impossible to see them and not be shocked by the visible signs of destitution and life-threatening malnutrition.”

The WFP officer warned that the agency is now “taking from the hungry to feed the starving” as it struggles to scale up its emergency response to 2.5 million people in Somalia – “a next to impossible feat, considering our relief funding gap of $149 million”.

She added: “The latest data shows how rapidly things are getting worse, with six million people now facing acute food insecurity in the coming months. This is almost double the number at the start of the year. It's almost 40 per cent of the population and there is a real risk of famine in some areas if the current rainy season fails.”
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