Food Insecurity In Somalia: Insights From International Medical Corps Somalia
Food insecurity and hunger remain a significant issue in too many parts of the world, and it is a major concern for us at MOAS.
We do our best to bring relief to communities and countries affected by this threat, which has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
This is why we deliver food shipments to countries such as Yemen and Somalia, where humanitarian crises have led to extremely high levels of food insecurity and malnutrition.
In Somalia, where we sent our very first shipment last year, our in-country partners International Medical Corps are overseeing distribution of the ready-to-use supplementary food Plumpy’Sup™ donated by our supply partner Edesia.
It is provided to children, women and men affected by Moderate Acute Malnutrition. This week we spoke to Naomi Mwikali, Nutrition Coordinator of International Medical Corps’ Somalia mission, to gain better insight into their work and the challenges they face in Somalia, a country affected by multiple threats.
What are the main causes of food insecurity in Somalia?
Naomi Mwikali: “Somalia is a country where complex humanitarian situations have existed for decades, but the leading cause of food insecurity at present is rising food prices due to a combination of COVID-19, droughts, floods, locust invasions and disease. Unfortunately, after decades of crisis here in Somalia, we are seeing a decline in humanitarian support due to “donor fatigue.” There are particular challenges relating to women and children.
For example, in Somalia, just 21% of children below six months are exclusively breastfed, and only 11% of children are able to access a minimally acceptable diet.
Accessing clean water is another concern. For mothers, the stresses of forced displacement, family and other tensions can contribute to mental health problems.
This can exacerbate food insecurity in the home because if the primary caretaker is not able to provide food, there will be a general reduction in food intake for the whole family