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Somalia:Top UN relief official visits Mogadishu to assess drought situation

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Laaska News  August 13,2011                              Somali

MOGADISHU, Aug. 13 (Xinhua) — A senior United Nations (UN) humanitarian chief Valerie Amos on Saturday arrived in the Somali capital Mogadishu as part of a visit to the region to assess the drought and famine situation in Somalia.

The under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator met with senior Somali government officials to discuss the worsening humanitarian crisis caused by the drought and famine currently affecting southern Somalia.

The UN official said discussions with Somali’s Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali were “fruitful,” adding that the two agreed the need for the international humanitarian effort to be “well organized.”

“The prime minister and I discussed in particular the importance of the security to ensure that the humanitarian operation can continue and be enhanced and we also discussed the importance of ensuring that governments’ efforts and the efforts of the UN and its partners are well organized,” Amos said during joint press conference with the Somali premier in Mogadishu.

Amos said that she was confident with improvement of the security situation in Mogadishu following the withdrawal of Al Shabaab’s fighters, and that the UN will be able to do more to help those people in desperate need.

Amos visited one of the main Mogadishu hospitals where she witnessed cases of severe malnutrition in children from drought stricken southern Somalia.

“I was shocked to see some of the children at the hospital that I visited. I cannot imagine what it feels like to be a parent to those children suffering from that level of malnutrition,” Amos told reporters in Mogadishu.

Amos said that the UN was committed to doing all it could to help those in desperate need.

The horn of Africa country is the worst hit of the current drought and famine ravaging the sub-region as thousands of Somali flee the southern parts of the country into neighboring Kenya and Ethiopia.

Thousands more have been arriving in Mogadishu for the past two months. Somali government has established a camp to cater for the growing number of displaced people.

The UN estimates almost 3.2 million people in Somalia have been affected by the drought and famine and almost half of that figure are children.
Xinhua

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