UN: UN official urges more humanitarian support for Somalia

New York, US (PANA) - UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia Peter de Clercq on Friday appealed for an urgent scale-up in humanitarian assistance in the Horn of Africa country facing severe drought and food shortage.

He said currently relief agencies in Somalia are already overstretched and in dire need of support.

"Drought in Puntland and Somaliland has deepened and spread to southern and central regions of the country. The situation has become increasingly desperate for vulnerable families in need," the UN official said at a briefing with the international community in Nairobi, Kenya, where he highlighted the urgency of responding to the drought situation in Somalia.

Describing the situation as "extremely worrying" and one that could deteriorate rapidly without a stepped-up response, Mr. de Clercq, said that humanitarian organizations were in urgent need of additional resources to tackle the drought situation and help the country cope with other crises.

He noted that the 2016 Humanitarian Response Plan has received just 47 per cent of the total US$885,000 request, with only four weeks left in the year.

The UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported that families and communities, especially in Somalia's north, were already facing below average rainfall and many of them adopted desperate measures to survive.

"Even the current 'Deyr' rainy season so far has been poor across most parts of Somalia, potentially resulting in significant crop and pasture losses.

"Further, more than 40 per cent of the country’s population, nearly five million people, does not have sufficient food, with more than one million of that number in a state of crisis and emergency.

"More than 50,000 children are severely malnourished, and 320,000 under the age of five are acutely malnourished, making all those children most vulnerable during the current drought," OCHA noted.

It said that several appeals for humanitarian assistance were issued to deal with the drought and highlight the urgency of the situation, including an appeal made by Somalia President on 12 November, and several others issued by state authorities in Jubbaland, Puntland, Somaliland, and Galmudug.

"Moreover, increased displacement related to conflict is another issue in the region.The withdrawal of international troops presented additional humanitarian challenges, as nearly 5,000 people have been displaced in Hiraan and Bakool regions, and another 29,000 in Lower Shabelle," it added.
-0-  PANA  AA/AR  2Dec2016

02 december 2016 17:27:00




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