Starving Somalia to Get Famine Designation
UN agencies poised to add 'humanitarian catastrophe' label
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 19, 2011 1:42 PM CDT
Two Somali children suffering from malnutrition lie at a camp for Internally Displaced People near Mogadishu airport on July 18, 2011.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – Drought and food shortages have gotten so bad in southern Somalia that the UN is almost certain to upgrade the situation from a “humanitarian emergency” to a “famine/humanitarian catastrophe,” sources tell the Telegraph. “It’s 99% certain that tomorrow we will have to declare a full phase-five famine situation,” says one official.

The famine classification is to be employed whenever the ability to find food has “disintegrated” completely, according to UN guidelines. “In south-central Somalia, we’re there now,” says one senior UN staffer in Nairobi. The areas likely to be included are all under the control of the Islamic insurgent group al-Shabaab, which has interfered with aid and food shipments in the past. But in light of the crisis, the group declared an amnesty last week.