Somali famine over, but crisis remains

El GENEINA, Sudan- A bumper harvest and a surge in emergency food deliveries have improved conditions in Somalia enough that the United Nations no longer considers a famine to be taking place, the organization said. The disaster has killed tens of thousands of people in the past year.

But conditions are still precarious, and about 2 million people in Somalia still need emergency rations, officials said.

“The crisis is not over,’’ said Jose Graziano da Silva, director-general of the Food and Agricultural Organization.


The United Nations is careful about using the word famine, and in the past 20 years, only a few humanitarian emergencies have qualified, including in Sudan in 1998, Ethiopia in 2001, and Niger in 2005.

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But in July, the United Nations declared a famine in Somalia, based on malnutrition and death rates, and said that Somalia was suffering its worst drought in more than 60 years.

Aid organizations are now focusing on recovery efforts, such as distributing seeds and digging irrigation canals.