MOGADISHU, May 20 (Xinhua) -- Humanitarian agencies operating in Somalia on Monday warned that at least 1.7 million people face acute food shortages due to delayed and insufficient seasonal rainfall in the Horn of Africa nation.
In a joint statement, the local and international agencies under the umbrella of the Somalia NGO Consortium called for urgent humanitarian support to save the lives of families at risk.
"The number of people facing acute food shortages is increasing, but we are yet to see strong commitments and unified efforts to save lives. This is very concerning," Nasra Ismail, director of Somalia NGO Consortium said in a statement issued in Mogadishu.
Ismail warned that without an urgently scaled-up response, the impact of this drought will be severe as it will worsen food security situation in the country.
"Our priority is to save lives and prevent the situation from deteriorating even further. We can only do this by investing more resources towards drought response interventions," she added.
The humanitarian agencies said that reduced access to safe water and growing food insecurity is already putting at risk the lives of millions Somali populations.
"We must strengthen our efforts and increase resources in responding to the needs of families and minimize human suffering," she added.
Ismail said most families were yet to recover from previous droughts and with critically low rainfall this season.
"We will likely see increased vulnerability for many to renewed risks that we may not have seen before," she said.
According to a report by the Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit for Somalia and the Famine Early Warning Systems Network issued in April, the total number of people who do not have access to sufficient food in Somalia has increased from 4.6 million to 4.9 million.