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Heavy Rains In North, Poor Season In South
Despite the improved situation in Somaliland , however, delayed and below-normal rainfall in southern Somalia during the current wet season was expected to lead to major food shortages in the region next year, the agency warned.
"Sufficient rainfall for the last two seasons led to increased livestock numbers and improved body condition due to availability of pasture and water, making livestock more productive," said Jean-Pierre Mambounou, head of WFP's sub-office in Hargeysa, the capital of the self-declared republic of Somaliland, northwestern Somalia.
Data made available by WFP showed that Sool, Sanag and Togdheer generally received sufficient gu (long) and deyr (short) rains this year. Rainfall was evenly distributed and commenced on time.
According to the November report of the Food Security Analysis Unit for Somalia (FSAU), most of the areas of northwestern Somalia , except southern Awdal, received normal to above-normal rainfall during the month of October.
The agency said that sheep and goat exports from the port of Berbera had risen sharply in October.
"Last month WFP field staff recorded decreased destitution in the affected regions and limited livestock migration," said Mambounou, who coordinates WFP operations in Somaliland and the self-declared autonomous region of Puntland.
"If the climatically favorable conditions prevail, we expect social support to strengthen and good recovery of livestock in the next rainy seasons," he added.
Increased primary school enrolment had also been recorded in areas where WFP school feeding programmes were being implemented. Due to an improvement in the number and health of livestock, some poor households were benefiting from restocking through kinship-support mechanisms, the agency said. It recommended that poor and destitute households be assisted.
The southern region, on the other hand, was experiencing a worsening food security situation.
"The food security situation in the south and especially in the Juba and Gedo regions is getting seriously worse because the deyr rains are not there," Zlatan Milisic, WFP's country director for Somalia , told IRIN in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi .
"There are some localized showers but certainly not enough," he added.
Field reports had confirmed that shortages of water and pasture in traditional grazing areas in the Juba valley and Gedo region had resulted in unusual movement of people and livestock towards Juba River , WFP said in a statement.
Malnutrition rates in many parts of southern Somalia had reached unacceptably high levels - up to 20 percent in some areas - the agency added.
Milisic said an estimated one million people in Somalia , 640,000 of them in the southern region, continued to need humanitarian assistance, including food aid.
The hardest-hit regions included Gedo, Bakol, and Middle and Lower Juba , which are normally already chronically food insecure. In a worst-case scenario, WFP would need some 50,000 tones of food aid for its operations in the south for the next six months.
Milisic added that the agency was also experiencing problems in delivering food aid in Somalia because of piracy along the country's coast. Gunmen have in recent months hijacked ships hired by WFP to bring food to the East African nation.
Finding credible partners to handle food distribution inside Somalia was another challenge WFP faced because of insecurity in some of the areas where those in need lived, he added.