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Famine in Somalia: Evidence for a declaration

  • Special Report
  • Somalia
  • September 20, 2012
Famine in Somalia: Evidence for a declaration

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  • Abstract

  • Abstract

    Objective: On 20 July 2011, for the first time since 1991–1992, the United Nations declared famine in parts of Somalia. Here, we report the methods, data and analysis that underpinned this declaration along with the review of trends in mortality and malnutrition. Methods: During July 2011, 16 population-based nutrition and mortality surveys were conducted in southern Somalia. Data on food access, collected through seasonal assessments and monthly monitoring, were analyzed using Household Economy methods. Results: In 11 of 16 survey locations, the prevalence of Global Acute Malnutrition exceeded the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification threshold for Phase 5 (Famine) of 30%. In five areas, Crude Death Rates exceeded the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification Phase 5 (Famine) threshold of 2/10,000/day. In agro-pastoral zones of the south, where access was most limited, more than 20% of households faced extreme food shortages. Comment: Survey findings and analysis confirm that a famine occurred in parts of southern Somalia during 2011 and raise the question of why strong early warning analysis did not trigger an earlier, better funded and more effective, response.


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    Occasionally, FEWS NET will publish a Special Report that serves to provide an in-depth analysis of food security issues of particular concern that are not covered in FEWS NET’s regular monthly reporting. These reports may focus on a specific factor driving food security outcomes anywhere in the world during a specified period of time. For example, in 2019, FEWS NET produced a Special Report on widespread flooding in East Africa and its associated impacts on regional food security.

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