2.1 million Somalis need food aid: UN
Around 2.1 million Somalis still need food aid and are facing a critical situation despite a fall in the number of people at risk in the last six months, the United Nations said on Tuesday.
"The number of people in crisis in Somalia has reduced by around 16% over the past six months, from 2.5 million to 2.1 million," Jens Laerke of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) told reporters.
In 2011, famine in the country caused the deaths of tens of thousands of people and affected more than four million people, or more than half of the population, according to the UN agency's figures.
Despite "sustained humanitarian assistance over the last year" and improved food stocks linked to an exceptional January harvest, Laerke nonetheless said he expected the situation to deteriorate because of a poor harvest after the April to June rains.
"Overall, despite the recent improvements, the humanitarian situation in Somalia remains critical and must remain on the global agenda to avoid the risk of reversing the gains made," he added.
Action for the remainder of this year includes rebuilding the livelihoods of those affected by famine in the past and providing them with the means to withstand future shortages, Laerke said.