UN humanitarian agencies in Somalia will require $863 million to meet the most urgent needs of 2.76 million Somalis in 2015, a UN relief official has said.
Mr Philippe Lazzarini, Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, said the humanitarian situation in the Horn of Africa nation has significantly deteriorated for the first time this year since the end of the 2011 famine.”
In 2015, we are asking for 863 million dollars to reach 2.76 million people, or 86 percent of the 3.2 million in need.
The 2015 Somalia Humanitarian Response Plan is focused on providing life- saving, protection and resilience assistance,” Mr Lazzarini said in a statement issued in Nairobi.
He said a combination of conflict, drought, floods, increasing food prices, access constraints and low funding is once again threatening the lives and livelihoods of vulnerable Somalis.
Mr Lazzarini said the unfolding humanitarian crisis comes at a critical time in Somalia when there is a positive narrative in the making. “We call on the international community to stand with the people of Somalia in this time of unprecedented global need. We must avoid a repeat of the 2011 crisis,” he stressed.
According to UN, more than three million Somalis are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. Of these, an estimated 1 million are unable to meet their minimum food requirements, a 20 percent increase compared to the same time last year.
‘‘We were also forced to discontinue or scale down vital food, health and livelihood activities due to funding shortage. Notably, UNICEF discontinued primary healthcare services for 2.5 million people in southern and central Somalia,” Mr Lazzarini said.
He said relief agencies have provided aid despite Somalia being one of the most dangerous and challenging places in the world in which to operate. He added that the humanitarian organizations have also worked hard to mitigate the risks of delivering assistance in Somalia, including preventing the diversion of funds.”
Increasingly robust monitoring and risk management were able to detect misappropriation of funds and help prevent the diversion of resources and ensure aid reaches vulnerable communities,” the UN official said.
He said the UN agencies received only 41 per cent of the funding requested in 2014 to address humanitarian needs, and provided 500, 000 people with improved access to food and 1.4 million people with livelihood asset activities throughout the country.
Mr Lazzarini said over 290,000 and 400,000 children were vaccinated for measles and polio respectively, some 319,000 children under the age of 5 were treated for acute malnutrition, and 500,000 people were assisted with sustained access to water.
‘‘We are grateful for the continued support from the donor community in 2014 and call on them to maintain their focus on and increase their funding in Somalia for humanitarian programs in 2015,” he noted.
The Horn of Africa nation has been plagued by political infighting and outbursts of extremist violence as the terrorist group, Al-Shabaab, continues to wage a simmering insurgency.