UN: UN calls for urgent global action on droughts in Somali communities

New York, US (PANA) - The UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, Mr. Peter de Clercq, on Wednesday called for urgent global action to avert a deterioration of the situation as drought continues to devastate communities in Puntland and Somaliland.

A UN statement, made available to PANA in New York, said the drought has impacted lives and livelihoods, compounding an already challenging humanitarian situation.

It said that, in some areas, 60-80 per cent of herds have been lost, with devastating impact on families who depend on livestock for income, food and status.

It stated that Mr. de Clercq, who recently visited the affected areas, said: "I am deeply concerned about the devastating effects of the persisting drought on the communities in Puntland and Somaliland."

"If we can vaccinate livestock and provide cash and inputs to agro-pastoralists now, we can mitigate the impact of the current drought," he noted.

He disclosed that nearly 385,000 people in Puntland and Somaliland are facing acute food insecurity, while an estimated 1.3 million people are at risk of slipping into acute food insecurity if they do not receive assistance.

He quoted the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), as saying that roughly 1.7 million or 37 per cent of the 4.6 million people there need some form of humanitarian assistance.

"Even though recent rains have brought an end to the drought in some areas, the crisis remains of serious concern given the cumulative impact of up to four failed rainy seasons in some areas.

"If the rains stop earlier than the end of May or early June, the situation could deteriorate rapidly and deeply," Mr. de Clercq said.

The statement said in March, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Somalia launched a call for aid requesting US$105 million to boost the drought response.

It said priority is given to putting cash in people's pockets to enable recovery of livelihoods for both pastoralists and agro-pastoralists, as well as assistance to pastoralists including a broad spectrum of animal health support, such as vaccinations and possible restocking in the future.

It also intends to provide agro-pastoralists with seeds and tractor hours.

During his visit, the UN relief official met with representatives of the government, donors, humanitarian partners and affected communities to assess the impact the current drought and ongoing response by partners.

The visit was part of an initiative to find solutions for the 1.1 million Somalis in protracted displacement across the country.
-0- PANA AA/VAO 11May2016

11 may 2016 14:45:49

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