The UN has called an emergency meeting to address the developing humanitarian crisis in the Horn of Africa as an estimated 11 million people face famine in strife-torn Somalia.
Voice of America reports the meeting of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the UN will include cabinet ministers, national representatives as well as aid groups and international finance.
The report says the Horn of Africa is experiencing its worst drought in 60 years, with 11 million people in urgent need of food aid. The UN declared a famine in Somalia’s southern Bakool and Lower Shabelle regions, while the World Health Organisation (WHO) said five more regions are on the brink of famine.
Mohamed Ibrahim, Somalia’s deputy prime minister warns most people in areas controlled by the Al Qaeda-linked Al Shabaab insurgents could starve to death unless aid reaches them in the next few weeks. He blamed Somalia’s food shortage on the weakness of the state and the ongoing conflict that has prevented basic services reaching people. He blamed the insurgents who were blocking aid, according to the Guardian. He said:
"The plight of the Somali people is desperate. We have witnessed suffering in the heart of the capital."
French agriculture minister Bruno Le Maire described the crisis in dramatic tones. The world has “failed to ensure food security”, the BBC said, adding:
“If we don't take the necessary measures, famine will be the scandal of this century."
The report added that refugees continue to pour over the borders of Ethiopia and Kenya.