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UN says food security in Somalia unlikely to improve before 2018

Food and nutrition security situation in Somalia is not likely to improve before the end of the year or January 2018, the UN humanitarian agency said on Tuesday.

The UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) called for donor commitments to help improve the situation, citing preliminary assessment results by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)-managed Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU) .

"Severe drought is expected to continue to deepen till the start of the next rainy season in October and an improvement in the food security and nutrition situation is not likely before December/January," the UN said.

The OCHA said in its humanitarian drought response report that while famine has been averted so far, thanks to critical investments early in the year, drought conditions are expected to continue to deepen till the start of next rainy season in October.

"Reprieve from the effects of prolonged drought will however persist till early next year when improvements in the food security and nutrition situation is expected to start being felt," it said.

Somalia is in the midst of a drought after rains failed in November 2016, for a third year in the row. Humanitarians in Somalia are calling for donor commitments to reach the most vulnerable with life-saving assistance.

"The momentum in new donor contributions has been declining. New donor commitments per month have declined from about 258 million U.S. dollars in March to 26 million dollars by end of June," the OCHA said.

"This is likely to affect continuity of response till the end of the year. Despite ongoing response, humanitarian needs far exceed available resources," it said.

The UN estimates that at least 100 million dollars is required per month to sustain current levels of response.

The April-to-June "Gu" rainy season was late and shorter than normal, and generally poor in most of the country and the temporal distribution was erratic.

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