MOGADISHU, March 15 (Xinhua) -- British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson on Wednesday called on the international community to ramp up support for the drought intervention measures in Somalia, noting the situation was worsening.
Speaking to journalists after meeting Somalia President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, Johnson said his country was stepping up support to Somalia and hoped other countries could follow suit as Somalia risks plunging into full-scale famine.
A massive increase in humanitarian assistance is urgently needed to avert a famine, with humanitarian agencies estimating that 6.2 million drought-affected Somalis are in need of assistance, including food, water and sanitation, health and nutrition, protection and shelter.
The foreign secretary said emergency and sustained efforts could cut off the risk of famine in Somalia and avoid a possible 2011 scenario. Over 250,000 people perished during the 2011 famine in Somalia.
"We feel that this time it's better than 2011; we feel that this time the response from Somalia is faster. So we are hopeful that there won't be many people who will suffer and the appalling malnutrition we saw the last time," said Johnson.
Aid agencies and the UN have warned Somalia could fall into famine and the UN Secretary-General Antonnio Guteres re-affirmed that statement last week here, noting the window of opportunity was fast closing.
The UN chief said more deaths could be seen as a result of cholera outbreak that is easily transmitted given the water shortages and drought-related vulnerabilities.