Home > Augustine P. Mahiga, Drought and Starvation, News, UN & ORG (Somalia) > Somalia:UN calls for more funds to save lives across Horn of Africa – UN News + Related News

Somalia:UN calls for more funds to save lives across Horn of Africa – UN News + Related News

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Laaska News  July 30,2011

After a 25-day trek from Somalia, a family arrives at Dadaab camp in Kenya and receives a 15-day food ration from WFP

PHOTO:UN News

29 July 2011 –The United Nations today appealed for a further $1.4 billion to save the lives of some 12 million people across the Horn of Africa stricken by a worsening drought, and to stop the crisis from becoming an “even bigger catastrophe.”
“More than 12 million people – in Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia and Djibouti – are in dire need of help, and the situation is getting worse,” said Valerie Amos, UN Emergency Relief Coordinator and head of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), which issued today’s appeal. “If we are to avoid this crisis becoming an even bigger catastrophe, we must act now.”

The emergency is expected to persist for at least three to four months, and the number of people needing humanitarian assistance could increase by as much as 25 per cent, OCHA said, putting strain on the work of UN agencies.

An OCHA spokesperson said in Geneva that today’s request for funds lifts the Horn of Africa appeal to a total of $2.4 billion, of which $1 billion has been received so far.

OCHA reports that, driven by the worst drought in 60 years, some 1,300 new Somali refugees arrive daily in Kenya, several hundred more flee to Ethiopia and at least 1,000 others crowd into the capital, Mogadishu, fleeing not only drought but continued fighting between Government forces and rebels.

“Women and children are forced to walk weeks under gruelling conditions to reach safety, and are arriving in refugee camps in appalling health, overwhelming the already stretched capacity to respond,” the agency said.

The agency also said that outright famine, declared recently in two areas of southern Somalia, “could spread throughout the rest of the south within one or two months, if the humanitarian response did not increase in line with rising needs.”

Drought conditions in Kenya’s northern and north-eastern districts have deteriorated further after the poor March-June rains. The food crisis is expected to peak in August and September.

In Ethiopia, La Niٌa weather conditions have diminished two consecutive rainy seasons, resulting in rapidly deteriorating food security in lowlands of southern and south-eastern areas, as well as in parts of the central highlands. In Djibouti, the drought has forced growing numbers of pastoralists and people in rural areas to migrate to urban areas, where food insecurity is rising.

The UN World Food Programme (WFP) reported today that its emergency airlifts were flying tons of specialized nutritional food for malnourished children in Mogadishu and other food supplies in southern Somalia, and it was continuing to feed more than 1.6 million people in Kenya.

The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said six flights and two ships have delivered more than 653 tons of corn soya blend, and about 230 tons of therapeutic food to treat severely malnourished children. It is also building up its food pipeline which already supports 500 nutrition centres in southern Somalia.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said it was working to accommodate some 3,000 people who since Monday settled spontaneously on the edge of Dadaab refugee complex, already the world’s largest refugee camp.

A spokesperson said the refugee agency is “very concerned about the protection of civilians” in Mogadishu amid renewed fighting between pro- and anti-Government forces. An offensive by pro-Government forces has increased the risk to the capital’s citizens as well as the estimated 100,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) who had recently fled drought and famine in neighbouring regions.

The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Somalia, today welcomed the Somali parliament’s approval of a new Cabinet and said the new Government must “immediately” tackle the problems facing the country.

Augustine P. Mahiga said the formation of the Cabinet “sends a strong, constructive signal and represents a positive start for the new Somali administration.”

“The new Government must immediately tackle the most critical tasks with the objective of creating a national vision based on a constructive dialogue with all stakeholders and a focus on the delivery of services,” he said.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the WFP today issued a joint statement calling for a longer view of the humanitarian situation in the Horn of Africa.

“Beyond the emergency, it will be necessary to put into place the long-term solutions needed to guarantee food security in the Horn of Africa. There will be no sustainable solution to the crisis without measures that enable the countries of the region to become food self-sufficient, develop food crop production and support pastoralism and massively reinvest in agriculture and livestock-raising in the region,” it said.

UN refugee agency seeks additional funding for Horn of Africa emergency

A Somali mother and child find safety after fleeing from their home area earlier this year- Photo: UN News.

28 July 2011 –The United Nations refugee agency today revised upwards the amount of funds it requires to effectively respond to the hunger crisis in the Horn of Africa, asking donors to provide an additional $8.6 million on top of the $136.3 million already requested for its humanitarian operations in Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya and Djibouti.
In Somalia, the additional funds will enable the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to scale up assistance, delivering relief supplies such as plastic sheeting, kitchen utensils, blankets, jerry cans and high-energy biscuits to some 180,000 people, most of them displaced by a combination of famine, drought and conflict.

The UN World Food Programme (WFP), meanwhile, has welcomed donor generosity, saying that response to its appeal from governments, companies and individuals has been encouraging.

WFP said it had received pledges amounting to more than $250 million in recent days from Australia, Brazil, Canada, the European Commission, France, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Luxembourg, Monaco, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States, as well as from the UN Central Emergency Fund (CERF).

The pledges are in addition to funds already received from many countries before the crisis in Somalia was declared a famine, including donations from Denmark, Finland, Kenya, New Zealand, Norway, Russia, Spain, Sudan and Switzerland.

“We are seeing the world coming together to help curb rising levels of hunger and malnutrition across the Horn of Africa,” said Ramiro Lopes da Silva, WFP’s Deputy Executive Director for External Relations and Resource Mobilization. WFP’s funding shortfall for the massive Horn of Africa operation for the next six months now stands at $252 million, he said.

UNHCR said it will strengthen its tracking of population movements through a network of nearly 80 partners on the ground in Somalia, and increase its presence in areas of displacement, including Mogadishu, central Somalia and areas bordering Kenya and Ethiopia.

“The people of Somalia – both those facing risk, vulnerability or displaced inside the country and the thousands who are outside as refugees – have never needed protection and humanitarian assistance with the urgency that we have today,” said George Okoth-Obbo, the director of UNHCR’s Africa Bureau.

“It is imperative that UNHCR is enabled to enhance its humanitarian activities to provide protection and other life-saving assistance to those being placed at risk. If we can thereby also contribute to people not being forced to have to seek safety elsewhere internally or in other countries, that can only be a good thing,” he added.

UNHCR has to date received $59 million in donor contributions and pledges for the Horn of Africa drought and famine emergency. The agency still faces a shortfall of nearly $86 million between now and the end the year after today’s revision of what is required.

The agency has far this year distributed emergency assistance packages to more than 100,000 people in south-central Somalia, where the drought is most severe. More supplies are currently being distributed to an additional 114,000 drought-affected people.

“All in all, UNHCR aims to reach 400,000 people in dire need of assistance inside Somalia by the end of August,” said Bruno Geddo, UNHCR’s representative for Somalia. “This will alleviate the suffering of some of the most vulnerable people, who do not have the means to travel to get assistance.”

WFP said it has been receiving support from both its traditional government donors and from emerging economies, including countries in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia, for example, has offered $50 million which will be earmarked to help WFP scale up an existing operation in Somalia to provide special food for 600,000 children to prevent malnutrition.

An increasing number of companies and individuals are stepping forward to assist, with $1.1 million in cash contributions from the Japanese private sector and in-kind support from UPS and TNT, which have offered logistics capacity. WFP has also received $ 1.66 million in cash contributions from online donors.

An estimated 11.6 million people in Ethiopia, Djibouti, Kenya and Somalia are facing severe food shortages with rates of malnutrition and related deaths having reached alarming levels in many parts of the region. The UN last week declared a state on famine in two areas of southern Somalia, the worst affected country.

Number of famine-displaced Somalis seeking aid in Mogadishu swells to 100,000 – UN


These displaced Somali women head back to their families carrying aid distributed in Mogadishu

PHTO:UN News

26 July 2011 –Up to 100,000 internally displaced people have arrived in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, over the last two months in search of food, water, shelter and other vital humanitarian assistance after fleeing famine-hit areas, the United Nations refugee agency reported today.
“The number is growing by the day, with daily arrivals averaging 1,000 in July,” Vivian Tan, spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), told reporters in Geneva.

Severe drought has plunged communities in the southern region of Somalia into famine and sent thousands fleeing both to Mogadishu and to neighbouring Ethiopia and Kenya. The UN and partner aid agencies are seeking approximately $1.6 billion in aid to assist millions affected by the crisis in Somalia and the wider Horn of Africa region.

On Monday, the top UNHCR officials in Somalia visited the Badbado settlement in Mogadishu which is currently home to an estimated 28,000 people.

“Given the growing numbers of displaced people in search of food assistance, the amounts being delivered are not sufficient to meet all of the needs. This has caused serious crowd crushes and even some looting,” said Ms. Tan.

“As a result, some of the weakest and most vulnerable are left with nothing, despite the best efforts of agencies and charities,” she added.

The UN World Food Programme (WFP) is hoping that the first in a series of airlifts to Somalia will begin today. The planes will bring, among other supplies, ready-to-use therapeutic food destined specifically for severely malnourished children, agency spokesperson Emilia Casella said in Geneva.

To enable people to carry the food and water they are able to obtain, UNHCR said it will begin distributing 4,000 assistance packages for 24,000 people in the coming week, including jerry cans, buckets, pots, plates, bowls, cups and other utensils. The agency has already distributed shelter materials, including plastic sheeting, in Badbado.

So far this year, UNHCR has distributed over 17,000 emergency assistance packages benefiting 102,000 people in south-central Somalia. It will distribute a further 19,000 packages in the coming days, containing essential items such as plastic sheeting for shelter, sleeping mats and blankets, buckets and jerry cans for water, kitchen sets, utensils, plates and cups for food to 114,000 people.

Another 40,000 packages containing high-energy biscuits, oral re-hydration solution and water purification tablets, are being procured by UNHCR and will reach an estimated 240,000 people in the coming days.

In neighbouring Kenya, UNHCR began an operation yesterday to relocate Somali refugees currently living on the outskirts of the Dadaab refugee camps to a new site known as the Ifo Extension. Over 500 five-person family tents were erected, with a capacity to accommodate at least 2,500 people. A second site, known as Kambioos, will also open in the next few days, to help decongest the outskirts of Dagahaley refugee camp.

The Dadaab camps – whose population has swelled to nearly 380,000 in recent months – have been receiving an average of 1,300 new refugees daily, fleeing conflict, drought, famine and insecurity in Somalia. UNHCR said the Somali refugees are arriving in an “appalling” state of health, dehydrated and severely malnourished, especially children.

Meanwhile, the agency stated that the overall nutrition situation in the remote Dollo Ado camps in Ethiopia remains a concern, with malnutrition levels among the new arrivals still high. One in three children under five arriving from Somalia is severely malnourished.

UNHCR and its partners are responding to address the situation, with supplementary feeding at the transit centre for children under five and hot meals for all refugees waiting to be registered and transferred to the refugee camps.

As of Friday, there were 114,646 Somalis in the Dollo Ado area camps, UNHCR said. The total number of Somali refugees in Ethiopia is currently over 156,000.

The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has launched, along with the Kenyan Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization (WHO), a vaccination campaign targeting over 200,000 children living in drought-affected host communities around the Dadaab refugee settlement.

Polio vaccinations and distributions of vitamin A and de-worming tablets are also being integrated into this campaign, UNICEF spokesperson Marixie Mercado stated.

She added that in southern Somalia, where immunization coverage is very low, an integrated measles, tetanus toxoid, vitamin A and de-worming campaign to reach 86,000 women and children in Mogadishu was wrapping up today.

Following that, the plan is to reach 2.5 million children up to the age of 5 in Gedo, provided UNICEF is given access across the south, said Ms. Mercado. The immunization campaigns are part of a regional push to protect children from becoming more vulnerable to potentially fatal diseases due to malnutrition.

UN News.

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