The UN today reports famine conditions in Somalia have ended. Anti-poverty campaign group ONE calls for world leaders to ensure that this is the last famine in history.
Adrian Lovett, Europe Director of ONE, said:
"We called on world leaders to fight this obscene famine. Because millions of ordinary people spoke out and some of those leaders responded generously, hundreds of thousands of people who faced imminent death are alive today. But the end of this famine must mark the beginning of a global drive against hunger. Investing in long-term solutions to hunger must be at the top of the world's agenda in 2012 - starting with the special conference on Somalia in London this month.
"Drought may be inevitable but famine is not. The world has the know-how and the resources to make famine a thing of the past. But do we have the will?
"British people can be really proud of the difference they have made in this crisis. Aid from Britain came fast and spurred others to act, saving hundreds of thousands of lives.
"While the worst of this crisis is over, the work is not yet done. Over 300,000 people in the region are still critically vulnerable and millions more face a desperate daily struggle to rebuild their lives and make ends meet. Alarmingly, just as east Africa starts the long recovery, a food crisis looms in west Africa. This famine may be over, but there cannot be an ounce of complacency about the future."
Notes to editors:
A statement from the UN in Nairobi states: "The combination of the massive scale-up in humanitarian assistance and an exceptional harvest have helped to improve the humanitarian situation in Somalia where famine conditions are no longer present, but any significant interruption to assistance would reverse the gains made since famine was declared last July, according to analysis released today by the Food and Agricultural Organisation's Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU) and the Famine Early Warning System (FEWS NET)."
ONE is a global advocacy and campaigning organization backed by more than 2.5 million people from around the world dedicated to fighting extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa. For more information please visit www.ONE.org
Drought may be an act of nature, but famine is not. The current crisis in the Horn of Africa is a man-made disaster that could have been avoided. But we don't have the necessary political will to stop the starving – and its causes. As a consequence, millions are affected and tens of thousands of children have died.