London: Over a quarter of a million people, including young children died in a famine in Somalia between October 2010 and April 2012 because the international community did not act quick enough, according to a UN report.
The report was commissioned by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the USAID-funded Famine Early Warning Systems Network.
The study estimates that 4.6 percent of the total population and 10 percent of children younger than five (about half of 258,000 Somalis) died in southern and central Somalia, the reports said.
The U.N. humanitarian coordinator for Somalia Philippe Lazzarini said that the number of deaths in famine have confirmed that much should have been done before the famine was declared in July 2011, adding that warnings back in 2010 about the starvation following the drought period did not trigger sufficient action and people needing most help have been the most difficult to reach.
According to FAO, lower Shabelle has been the hardest hit area in Somalia as one in five children younger than five have perished there. Southern Somalia also received less humanitarian assistance in 2010 and much of 2011 than it had in 2008-2009, the report said.
Researchers claim that this has been one of the worst famines in the past 25 years.
Lazzarini further said that humanitarian community in Somalia witnessed huge mobilization once the famine was declared that ‘helped mitigate the worst effects of the crisis.’
At the peak of the crisis, between May and August 2011, about 30,000 more people died each month, according to the study.
The International humanitarian organization Oxfam said that the mistakes committed in Somalia in 2011 reflect catastrophic political failures and must never be repeated, adding that the humanitarian officials made a slow response that took a huge toll on lives.
Stating that the world leaders meet next week must ensure better steps for improving the situation in Somalia, Oxfam officials have said that they must plan to invest in long-term development by creating jobs, supporting farmers and pastoralists and properly training security forces.
Lazzarini confirmed that since 2011, the UN community and its partners have changed their operating methods as they are aware that about 2.7 million people in the state are still in need of life-saving assistance and moral support to rebuild their lives and overcome their crisis and want to ensure that Somalia never goes through a famine again.