(Xinhua) -- The Food and Agriculture
Organization of the United Nations (FAO) warned on Wednesday
that some 2.2 million Somalis could face severe hunger in during
the July-September period due to drought.
The UN food
agency, which issued a special alert on Somalia, said
life-saving and livelihood support are urgently needed to
prevent loss of lives due to disastrous drought.
Mario Zappacosta, FAO senior economist and leader of the
Global Information and Early Warning System (GIEWS), said a
significant lack of rains in April and early May has rendered
dry and barren up to 85 percent of the croplands in the
country’s breadbaskets and according to the latest projections,
food grown during the "Gu" season is likely to be 50 percent
"Rains in April and early May can make or break Somalis’ food
security for the whole year as they are crucial for the
country’s main annual harvest in July, following the "Gu" rainy
season," Zappacosta said in a statement issued in Mogadishu.
The alert indicates that the number of hungry people in
Somalia this year is expected to be 40 percent higher than
estimates made at the beginning of 2019.
The alert says a deteriorating nutritional status is also of
major concern, adding that acute malnutrition rates as well as
the number of acutely malnourished children being admitted to
therapeutic feeding centers have sharply increased in 2019.
According to FAO, poor rains since last October have also
taken a heavy toll on herders and their livestock as vegetation
has been drying up and water has been increasingly scarce.
The FAO alert warns of a worrying number of animals in very
poor health conditions, due to low body weight and
drought-induced diseases, in the country’s central and northern
"Herders in the worst drought-affected areas, such as central
Galgaduud and in northern Bari and Sanaag regions, have been
forced to slaughter the offspring of their goats and sheep as
they don’t have enough fodder and water for all their animals,
and try to save the milk-producing female livestock," said FAO
Somalia Representative Serge Tissot.
Tissot said many herders have not been able to replace
livestock lost during the 2017 drought that ravaged the country,
so they already have less resources.
"Now, on top of that, as food and water become scarcer, they
have to pay higher prices for trucked-in water and their daily
food," he added.
The latest projection, based on data gathered by FAO experts,
including analyses of rainfall, temperatures, water availability
and vegetation health, points to the worse drought in years.
The UN agency said some rains are expected in May, but these
will be insufficient and arrive too late for crop and pasture
recovery before the onset of the dry season.
Fund forecasts Somalia economic
growth to strengthen to three percent in 2019
MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) --
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Tuesday
projected Somalia’s economic growth to strengthen to 3 percent
from 2.8 percent in 2018.
Allison Holland, who led an IMF team discussing Somalia’s
Article IV program said the economy continues to recover,
supported by vigorous activity in the construction,
telecommunications, and financial services sectors in 2018.
"Economic growth is estimated at 2.8 percent, and end-year
inflation is estimated at 3.2 percent for 2018. Growth is
projected to strengthen to 3.0 percent and inflation to ease
further to 3.0 percent, in 2019," Holland said in a statement
issued in Mogadishu on Tuesday.
However, the IMF warned that the outlook remains vulnerable
to the still fragile security situation, climate shocks and the
still developing institutional capacity, and more is needed to
improve economic resilience, increase employment and reduce
The lender said the government has stepped up efforts to
broaden the tax base and strengthen tax administration which it
said has been reflected in increased domestic revenue, which
reached 184 million U.S. dollars in 2018, almost 30 percent
higher than in 2017, and 54 million dollars for the first
quarter of 2019.
Holland said the overall cash fiscal position remains in
surplus, adding that public financial management continues
strengthening, including a sustained improvement in cash
forecasting and reduction in the use of cash advances.
"Nevertheless, Somalia remains heavily dependent on grants
and more efforts will be needed to create space for critical
social and development spending, and put Somalia clearly on the
path to fiscal self-sufficiency," she said.
Holland said the team is encouraged by the authorities’
further efforts to enhance financial sector supervision,
especially to bring mobile money service providers within the
oversight of the Central Bank of Somalia.
"Staff also welcomes progress in strengthening the
implementation of the anti-money laundering and combating the
financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) regime, including the
commencement of large transaction reporting and efforts to build
capacity at the Financial Reporting Center. Staff urged the
authorities to address remaining gaps in AML/CFT regulation,"
UNHCR says struggling to
meet needed funds for refugees in Ethiopia
ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) --
The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR)
on Monday said it has only received 14 percent of the 346.5
million U.S. dollars it requires to meet the needs of refugees
In a press statement sent to Xinhua, the UNHCR said 346.5
million dollars are needed to meet the basic nutritional,
educational, health, clean water, sanitation and shelter needs
of refugees in Ethiopia.
The UNHCR has registered 915,073 refugees as of Aug. 31, 2018
in Ethiopia, most of whom are housed in refugee camps in six
Ethiopia hosts the second largest refugee population in
Africa, next to Uganda.
Refugees in Ethiopia primarily come from Eritrea, Somalia,
South Sudan and Sudan, according to the UNHCR.
Conflict and drought in neighboring countries continues to
force people to seek refuge in Ethiopia, which has a long
tradition of hosting refugees.
Ethiopia has also in recent years hosted an increasing number
of refugees fleeing conflicts in Yemen and Syria.
Two Canadian women freed
from Somaliland arrive in Toronto
OTTAWA Canada (Xinhua) --
Two Canadian women who were jailed in
self-declared republic Somaliland for two months after being
accused of drinking alcohol arrived in Toronto on Sunday
morning, according to CBC.
The two women were arrested in the city of Hargeisa after
being accused of consuming alcohol, which is illegal in
Somaliland, a breakaway region in northern Somalia.
According to their lawyer, the pair signed confessions "under
duress," hoping to avoid being detained.
They were sentenced to two and a half months in jail and 40