UN Seeks $1.3 Bln. For Humanitarian Efforts In Somalia
The United Nations appealed to the international community on Tuesday for $1.3 billion in funds for addressing the immediate needs of the Somali people over the next year and enhance resilience to natural calamities in the Horn of Africa nation.
The fund, which is part of a three-year strategy, will go to 369 humanitarian projects targeting 3.8 million Somalis in need, according to the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
The strategy will be implemented by 177 national and international non-governmental organizations and U.N. agencies operating in Somalia, which has for decades been mired by conflict, drought, floods and food insecurity.
“While the humanitarian situation in Somalia remains critical, the improvement in the food security situation and the new security and political landscape present opportunities to break the cycle of recurring crises brought on by drought and conflict,” said Stefano Porretti, the U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator in Somalia.
Incidentally, Somalia had undergone a peace and national reconciliation process in recent months, with the country’s U.N.-backed transitional federal institutions implementing the “Roadmap for the End of Transition” devised in September 2011.
The transition process culminated in the election of Hassan Sheikh Mohamud as President in September, giving the impoverished country its first proper government since the fall of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre’s government in 1991.
Nevertheless, Somalia still witnesses frequent bombings and militant attacks, mainly in the capital Mogadishu. Also, the country is still facing one of the largest humanitarian crises in the world, with 1.1 million people internally displaced and more than one million living outside the country as refugees. The problem has been compounded by the recent droughts and floods in Somalia.
“By strengthening Somalis’ ability to cope with droughts and floods we can prevent future shocks from developing into a humanitarian catastrophe,” Porretti said in a press release, acknowledging that the “road to resilience will be long and difficult.”
“There is an absolute imperative to continue supporting the humanitarian work in Somalia. The new three-year humanitarian appeal allows for greater continuity in programming and aims at responding to the existing emergency needs of the population in crisis in a sustainable manner,” he added.
The U.N.’s 2013-2015 humanitarian appeal for Somalia was launched in Mogadishu on Tuesday. It was presented by Porretti, along with the Minister of Interior and National Security Abdikarim Hussein Guled, who is also responsible for humanitarian affairs.
“This is a humanitarian event, not a political one. It is the first humanitarian gathering in Mogadishu for over 20 years. Somalia and its people are happy that the humanitarian community is presenting the strategy to us on our home soil,” Guled said, according to OCHA.
The 2012 humanitarian appeal for Somalia has been 57 percent funded, with over $668 million provided out of $1.1 billion requested, the U.N. agency added.
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