MOGADISHU, (Xinhua) --
Somalia was on Tuesday urged to remove all obstacles
to the delivery of humanitarian assistance to drought-hit
populations amid possible famine in the Horn of Africa nation.
Participants at a high-level roundtable meeting convened by
President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, widely known as Farmajo, in
Mogadishu urged Mogadishu to temporarily suspend new bureaucratic
requirements placed on aid providers at regions to enable aid
agencies address the severe drought currently afflicting over 6
communique issued after the meeting said the participants agreed on
the necessary steps to avert another devastating famine in the
country and warned of the risks posed by the drought in undermining
the significant progress achieved in the country over the past five
“Participants proposed the immediate implementation of a number of
specific measures to mitigate the effects of the drought. These
include extending to the import and export of foodstuffs, critical
supplies and remittances; the provision of security; increased
logistical support for access to drought-stricken areas; and the
rehabilitation of vital infrastructure,” it said.
Participants also identified the drought crisis as the top priority
currently facing Somalia and noted its particularly harsh impact on
women, children and disabled persons.
Participants in the roundtable discussions welcomed President
Farmajo’s declaration of a national disaster and adopted a position
of zero tolerance to the diversion of humanitarian assistance and
pledged to hold accountable anyone engaging in such misconduct.
“The critical role of national and international non-governmental
organizations and United Nations agencies in providing life-saving
assistance and livelihood support to populations at risk was
emphasized,” the communique said.
The communique also underscored the role of the country’s private
sector in facilitating the delivery of supplies to reach the most
vulnerable communities and called on the Somali Diaspora to increase
its remittances to support the drought response.
The meeting resolved to strengthen the role of the National Drought
Response Committee and its state-level counterparts in the
engagement of all actors in a coordinated plan of action to lessen
the impact of the drought and prevent another famine.
“Only through urgent, collective and sustained action will we meet
today’s urgent challenge and build a more prosperous and safe
environment for future generations in Somalia and its neighbours,”
the communique said.
44 aid agencies appeal for UN
action to avert famine in Somalia
MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) --
Some 44 local and international aid agencies working
in Somalia on Tuesday appealed to UN to take urgent action to avert
possible famine in the Horn of Africa nation where at least 6.2
million people face acute food shortage.
In a joint letter to the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, the
agencies urged the UN chief to encourage international community to
step up its efforts to ensure that the mistakes made in 2011 are not
repeated and push for immediate drought relief transitioning to
longer restoration of livelihoods.
“We, the national and international humanitarian agencies working in
Somalia, are writing to express our alarm about the possibility of
famine in Somalia in early 2017,” reads the letter.
“We are running out of time. It is time to effectively come together
and act in a joined up manner across the international system to
keep the promise of ‘never again’,” said the agencies under an
umbrella organization, Somalia NGO Consortium.
While appreciating the initiatives undertaken by the UN so far, the
agencies however said the situation requires stronger partnerships
and more commitment to coordination across the international system
to effectively prevent a famine.
The organizations expressed concern about Somalia’s possible famine
is not being seen with the urgency it demands globally and urged
Guterres to encourage the Member States to expedite pledged
allocations of additional resources to support a rapid scale-up of
the humanitarian response in Somalia to prevent the loss of
thousands of lives and avert a possible famine.
“On-going operations to reach vulnerable communities need to be
scaled up rapidly across the country. This must include investment
in resilience and be done in a way that enables longer-term
prevention so families and communities do not slide further into
crisis,” the aid agencies said.
In 2010-11, they said, systemic failures on the part of the
international community led to a famine in Somalia in which nearly
260,000 people died - half of them children - and the world swore
Following a poor Gu rainy season (April to June) and failed Deyr
rainy season (October to December) in 2016, food security, pastures
and water levels have deteriorated significantly across Somalia.
It is projected that famine would be expected if purchasing power
declines and humanitarian assistance is unable to reach people in
More than 6.2 million people, or half of the population in Somalia,
is in need of humanitarian assistance. Close to 1 million children
are already malnourished.
Somalia declares drought national
disaster, appeals for help
MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) --
Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed on Tuesday
declared drought, which has been ravaging the Horn of Africa nation,
a national disaster.
The president, widely known as Farmajo, also appealed to the
international community to urgently respond to the calamity in order
to help families and individuals and avoid humanitarian tragedy.
“President Farmajo has declared a national disaster to deal with the
humanitarian emergency in all areas affected by the current
drought,” said a statement issued in Mogadishu.
The statement came after the UN warned that Somalia is in the grip
of an intense drought, induced by two consecutive seasons of poor
In the worst-affected areas, inadequate rainfall and lack of water
has wiped out crops and killed livestock, while communities are
being forced to sell their assets and borrow food and money to
The Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU) and the Famine
Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET), managed by the Food and
Agriculture Organization (FAO), have found that over 6.2 million
people, or more than half of the country’s population, are in need
of assistance, up from 5 million in September last year.
Farmajo also called on the Somali business community and diaspora to
participate in the recovery efforts in the affected area, the
UNHCR’s repatriation of Somali
refugees in Kenya nears 50,000
By Chris Mgidu NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
The UN refugee agency said Tuesday that it has
repatriated some 49,376 Somali refugees in Kenya since the return
exercise begun in December 2014.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said in its bi-weekly
update that out of the figure, some 10,062 were supported in 2017
“The number of flights has been significantly increased as it
remains the only mean of transportation to Somalia. Returns
movements by air are organized to Mogadishu, Kismayu and Baidoa,” it
said in a statement issued in Nairobi.
According to the UNHCR, road convoys were also organized from Dadaab
in northeast Kenyan camp to Dhobley in Somalia respectively on
Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.
“For the time being, flights from Dadaab to Somalia remain suspended
owing to the security alerts in Mogadishu since December 23, 2016,”
The UNHCR said a total number of persons relocated to Kakuma/Kalobeyei
camp in northwest Kenya was 2,431 as of Feb. 13. Out of this number,
2,220 were relocated since the resumption of the relocation process
on Jan. 16.
The report came after two UN agencies last week warned that critical
shortages in food assistance are affecting some 2 million refugees
in ten African countries.
The UNHCR and WFP warned that the shortages could worsen in coming
months without new resources to meet food needs.
According to the UN agencies, ten refugee operations in Africa have
experienced cuts affecting the quantity and quality of food
assistance for approximately 2 million refugees.
The agencies said food rations have been dramatically cut, in some
cases by up to 50 percent, in large operations including in
Cameroon, Chad, Kenya, Mauritania, South Sudan and Uganda.