UN: UN official says Somalia remains one of the largest, most complex emergencies

New York, US (PANA) - The UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, Mr. Philippe Lazzarini, says the "multi-faceted" challenge presented by Somalia is different to that posed in other countries, noting that the country remains one of the largest and most complex emergencies.

Mr. Lazzarini, who briefed UN member states and partners on the humanitarian and development situation in Somalia, on Friday in New York, said: "We are dealing with a country that is putting things together again."

"We have a post-conflict situation, but we also have a conflict existing, and we have military operations, and we also have different stages of recovery and development," he stated.

He noted that due to the situation in Somalia, aid delivery remained "incredibly dangerous".

"The challenges of delivering humanitarian assistance, can be seen by the attack three weeks ago in northern Somalia on UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) workers, where four lost their lives and five were wounded," Mr. Lazzerini said

“I think it is an understatement to say that Somalia remains one of the largest and most complex emergencies in the world," the UN official said, pointing to figures, such as the fact that three million people need humanitarian assistance or livelihood support, among whom 740,000 are unable to meet food needs, as well as 200,000 children who are severely malnourished.

Mr. Lazzerini also stressed the vulnerability of the one million internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the country, whose vulnerability made them "pariahs among pariahs", as they continued to live in appalling conditions.

He underlined Somalia’s susceptibility to natural disasters and food insecurity and said it was still too early to say whether the harvest would be sufficient or not.

The country also faced challenges due to a money transfer operator ceasing operations there, he said pointing out that 40 per cent of Somalia’s population was dependent on remittances.

The UN official said the remittances accounted for between US$1.3 billion and US$1.5 billion of annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and amounted to twice the value of the international humanitarian effort.

Mr. Lazzerini pointed to several achievements including the arresting a polio outbreak, stating that, after a large number of cases was found, there was sustained mobilization of the aid community and the vaccination of 4 million people to put an end to the outbreak.

He added that, although the country was not polio free, there had been no new cases since August 2014.

Also in the health sector, he noted a drop in prevalence of malaria, which had been reduced from 20 per cent to less than two per cent. Vaccination campaigns had also allowed Somalia’s livestock to recover to an extent that exports had re-started, generating profits of US$350 million for Somali farmers.

Mr. Lazzerini called on the international community to address the root causes of the problems in Somalia, saying that the international activity in Somalia had been humanitarian focused for 25 years.

"Humanitarian assistance is a band aid that allows us only to keep people alive," he said, and called for a durable solution for IDPs in the country.
-0- PANA AA/MA 9May2015

09 may 2015 05:37:34

xhtml CSS