SOMALIA: Press release on Humanitarian crisis

Published: July 20, 2011

Somali Prime Minister welcomes help given so far but highlights ongoing conflict as fundamental cause of famine
( Mogadishu, Wednesday 20 July 2011) During a joint visit with President Jerry Rawlings today to a camp for displaced Somalis, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense H. E. Abdihakim Fiqi called attention to the fundamental causes of the famine that has hit the people of the war-torn country. He highlighted what his government is doing for the country but also outlined the fragility of the state and the enduring conflict which hinders the provision of basic services.
Twenty years of conflict have devastated the state institutions of Somalia. Nine thousand troops from the African Union Mission for Somalia are supporting the Transitional Federal Government as it seeks to defeat an Al Qaeda-linked insurgency, design a constitution for all the Somali people and transition the country to full sovereignty.
Within two days of being sworn in as the new Prime Minister of the Transitional Government, Dr Abdiweli Mohamed Ali, established an emergency National Humanitarian Committee to direct the government’s response to the humanitarian crisis in the country. Shortly after being appointed the Prime Minister met with key UN agencies and continues to work with the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs to help the delivery of aid in Somalia.
The Committee, led by the Deputy Prime Minister, has initiated a global appeal to draw attention to the plight of Somalis. The Committee established a camp in Dharkinlay, south west of Mogadishu, where it is allocating shelter for displaced people arriving in the city. The government has established sanitation and clean drinking water for the 4,000 displaced people who have arrived so far.
Together with the Mayor of Mogadishu, the Committee has delivered food and basic items to the camp. Through the Committee, the government has committed $500,000 of emergency aid. In total food, shelters, blankets and other non-food items have been provided to displaced people in eight of the sixteen IDP camps in the capital.
Responding to today’s announcement by the UN of a famine in Somalia, Deputy Prime Minister and Chairperson of the Committee said: “I – and on behalf of the Somali people – are immensely grateful to those UN agencies and all the people, the NGOs, who are helping on the ground. We welcome the delivery of much needed aid in the Baidoa region and elsewhere in Somalia, and urge those who have blocked life-saving aid for too long do everything in their power now to deliver food to those who are suffering.”
“The plight of the Somali people is desperate. I saw with my own eyes today the suffering of my people right in the heart of our capital, in the camp we established for those who need our help. But as thousands more Somalis flood into these safe, government-controlled areas of Mogadishu we call upon all international partners to step up their support.”
The Committee has also been working with the media and international media partners to highlight the appeal and the bank account it has set up. The Somali Diaspora have donated generously and the first International aid agencies, Qatar charity has provided emergency supplies.
Prime Minister Dr Abdiweli Mohamed Ali said,

“Today the world’s attention is on my country but I ask the world to address the fundamental causes of this humanitarian catastrophe and urgently ask for the resources needed to rebuild the Somali state in the midst of an ongoing conflict. I am determined to see the country be able to look after its own people but we will need committed international support to do so.
“This is going to get worse for the Somali people, before it gets better.”

Notes to editors
The National Humanitarian Support Committee of Ministers recently opened bank accounts at the Somali Central Bank and at the Dahabshiil Money Transfer Company:

  • US Dollar Account             #750:              Central Bank of Somalia – Mogadishu.
  • Somali Shilling Account     #749:               Central Bank of Somalia – Mogadishu.
  • US Dollar Account          # 8495:                Dahabshiil Money Transfer Company.

The Committee resolved that the 100% of the aid will reach it’s the drought stricken population.
Monies received at the Bank Accounts opened will be managed by the National IDP Support Committee.

Abdirahman Omar Osman (Eng. Yarisow)
Senior Advisor to the Prime Minister of Somalia

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