Social media has been awash with statements saying that there’s no famine in Somalia.
Similar posts were found , where one tweet on September 22, 2022 said that the president of Somalia said that there was no famine.
Caption: A comment from a Facebook post
A prolonged drought is reported in the Horn of Africa. This has created a confusion of whether drought is famine or these are two different things which are supposed to be used independently.
For starters, famine is a situation in which a substantial proportion of the population of a country or region is unable to access adequate food. This results in widespread acute malnutrition and loss of life by starvation and disease according to the United Nations Refugee Agency UNHCR.
The International Rescue Committee says that famine is declared when at least 30% of a given area’s children suffer from severe malnutrition. “Meaning by the time a famine is declared, children are already starting to die because their parents cannot give them enough food to survive,” they say.
As stated by the International Rescue Committee and the United Nations, there are five phase scale criteria to follow as defined by the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC). The first step is to assess a country’s food security. This is followed by food insecurity and an acute food and livelihood crisis. Then, determining the humanitarian emergency needed and finally declaring a famine.
“A famine classification is the highest on the IPC scale (Phase 5) and occurs when at least 20 percent of the population face extreme food shortages, acute malnutrition rates exceed 30 percent – meaning that people experience the most extreme and visible form of undernutrition – and two out of 1,000 people die from starvation on a daily basis,” according to the United Nations.
Is there a Famine in Somalia?
The World Food Programme states that the drought in the Horn of Africa has led to catastrophic hunger in Somalia. A total of 7.1 million people face acute food insecurity. A total of 1.5 million children under 5 face acute malnutrition; 386,000 of these face severe malnutrition In the face of this crisis.
“In 2022 the famine thresholds projected for some parts of the Bay region were not crossed due to the scale-up. More than 8.3 million people are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance,” according to UNICEF.
There is a strong likelihood of a famine breaking out in Somalia in 2022, but the current prediction is for April-June 2023, according to an International Famine report issued by the United Nations.
“Famine is projected in some rural areas of Baidoa and Burhakaba of Bay Region, and internally displaced communities in IDP settlements in Baidoa and Mogadishu. In addition, most of the south and central Somalia regions will face the risk of severe acute malnutrition,” a report by the Somali NGO Consortium states.
Drought is a prolonged period of low or no rainfall, resulting in a shortage of water. This damages land, sources of water, and food growth and thus results in famine, but not every drought will lead to famine according to the United Nations University.
It’s true there’s no famine declared in Somalia. Currently, there are projections of famine in Somalia due to an extreme and prolonged drought. The last famine declared in Somalia was in 2011 where a quarter of a million people died.
This fact-check was produced by Debunk Media Initiative with support from Code for Africa’s PesaCheck, International Fact-Checking Network and African Fact-Checking Alliance network.