Somalia has made strides toward food security one year since its famine but the situation remains critical, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization said Friday.
“Today Somalia is on the path to recovery but the situation remains critical and continued aid is vital in order to preserve food security,” the Rome-based organization said.
The FAO statement came exactly one year after the United Nations announced a state of famine in southern Somalia resulting from extreme drought and war.
Tens of thousands of people in the country of 10 million are believed to have died during the six-month crisis that triggered massive global aid efforts.
But though the famine was declared over in February, dire conditions remain, with the FAO highlighting concerns Friday that low rain levels will lead to a below-average harvest in parts of the south this year.
“The danger is that they could slide back into crisis, if we disengage now,” said Luca Alinovi, head of the FAO’s Somalia program.
Some 3.4 million Somalis continue to receive support in the form of cash or food aid, according to the FAO.
To help with the famine, FAO distributed cash for food to over a million people in vulnerable areas, along with fertilizers and seeds to help farmers.
“During the drought, we survived on one meal a day and could not even afford milk”, said Fatuma Aden Abdirahman, a mother of eight and participant in an FAO cash-for-work program in the Gedo region of southern Somalia.
“But now, I earn at least $18 (15 euros) a week and can afford all the three meals for my children and will soon replace the goats I lost in the drought,” she added, quoted in the FAO statement.