Famine is declared when (in addition to other indicators), more than 30% of children are suffering from acute malnutrition and when thousands are at risk of dying. It is very likely that tens of thousands of Somalis have died over recent months, the majority of them children. Tens of thousands of people have fled across the border to Kenya and Ethiopia.
Some 3.7 million people in Somalia, or more than half the population, now require urgent assistance, as they face drought, conflict and record high food prices. Somalia has the highest malnutrition rates in the world, in some cases 55%.
"The situation is already extremely grave. But if we do not act now, on a massive scale, the crisis will continue to deepen," said Commissioner Georgieva.
"We have been closely following this grave situation, the worst humanitarian disaster in the world, since last year. The European Commission has given €70 million so far this year to help the most vulnerable people.
"Last week we announced an emergency allocation of €5.7 million for the Dadaab refugee camps, where 400 000 people are now living and more arriving every day.
"In the coming days I will be visiting the region to see for more myself how we can redouble our efforts. I will be announcing new measures. The people and governments of Europe have been generous in their response but the situation is dire and we must all dig deeper in this moment of crisis," the Commissioner explained.