UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA - AFRICAN STUDIES CENTER
SOMALIA: Humanitarian crisis "very worrying"
NAIROBI, 9 March (IRIN) - The humanitarian crisis in central and southern Somalia remains serious after more crop failures and a severe water shortage, according to the latest update from the UN country team.
The UNCT 'Somalia Monitor', covering the period 23 February-5 March, said the situation in southern Somalia was "very worrying" following the failure of the February secondary Deyr harvest and a widespread lack of water for human consumption.
WFP distributed some 2,572 mt of food aid to affected people in Somalia during the month of February, according to the latest WFP weekly emergency report. It said that close to 70 percent of the food was distributed in the worst-hit Bay and Bakool regions. WFP planned to distribute a total of 3,200 mt of food in southern Somalia in March, it added.
In a statement last week, US-based Refugees International urged donors to immediately make funds available for the purchase and distribution of seed to vulnerable populations. Some 1,600 mt of seed, including 50 mt to help displaced persons to go home, is needed before the onset of the planting season at the end of March. Some 34,000 people, most from Bay and Bakool, had been displaced while another 12,000 people had crossed into Ethiopia, the statement said.
Refugees International said although the response to the November 1998 appeal from the Somalia Aid Coordination Body (SACB) was good for food aid, "the appeal for money to buy seed has gone begging." It said a large emergency food assistance programme would be needed to prevent a widespread starvation if seed were not provided. "The cost-benefit analysis is self evident," the statement said.
Meanwhile, a total of 4,678 cholera cases were reported in central and southern Somalia between November and 25 February, with 157 deaths attributed to the disease. According to WHO figures cited in the UNCT 'Somalia Monitor', the most affected regions were Benadir, Bay, Gedo, Lower Juba and Lower Shabelle. Available cholera treatment supplies had covered needs so far, but more supplies may be required if the epidemic continues to spread, the 'Monitor' said.
A Mogadishu hospital had reported 257 cases of whooping cough since December, it added.
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Copyright (c) UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs 1999
Date: Tue, 09 Mar 1999 17:29:51 +0000 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (email@example.com) Subject: SOMALIA: Humanitarian crisis "very worrying"  
Editor: Dr. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D
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