Envoy: US determined to help Somalia avert famine

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MOGADISHU, Somalia - The United States is determined to help Somalia avert looming famine which could affect millions of people who are already struggling with drought, US ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield said, a few days after concluding her trip to the Horn of Africa country.

While in Somalia, Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield met several stakeholders where the fight against violent extremism and looming famine dominated the talks. President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud updated her on the current situation across Somalia.

“We’re doing everything possible to help to avert this but people die even when there’s not a famine so the work that we have to do is really continuing,” Thomas-Greenfield said in an interview Wednesday at Bloomberg’s Washington headquarters.

Thomas-Greenfield said Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the disruption it’s had on the global food supply has had “a devastating impact on hunger in Africa as well in the Middle East.” Almost 7 million Somalis are facing starvation even with support from international partners.

For the last four years, the country has not received adequate rains, the worst spell in as many years, forcing thousands of people to take refuge in Kenyan IDP camps. She said African nations had been making progress in reducing their debt burden but “China came in and re-indebted some of these countries.”

In a previous interview however, President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud who has diverted his focus to the fight against Al-Shabaab noted that the country has enough food to feed the struggling population, ruling out possible famine. He said the international community had donated "abundant food".

Just like in the neighboring Kenya and Ethiopia, Somali farmers have lost livestock worth billions of dollars making it difficult for them to sustain their families. Besides the US, the United Nations, and the United Kingdom, Somalia has been getting support from the Arab League of nations and other African countries.

GAROWE ONLINE

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