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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

UN agencies appeal for US $1.6 billion
dollars to reach 5.4 million Somalis 

MOGADISHU Somalia  (Xinhua) -- The UN agencies working in Somalia on Wednesday launched humanitarian appeal for 2018, seeking 1.6 billion U.S. dollars to reach 5.4 million people with urgent life-saving assistance.

Peter de Clercq, the Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia who launched the Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) for 2018 Plan in Mogadishu, said the money is urgently needed to save 5.4 million lives from severe drought in Somalia.

“Working together with the Somali authorities and with historical levels of support from the international community, I am proud that we averted a possible famine last year,” de Clercq said in a statement issued in Mogadishu.

He said the lasting solutions to drought, conflict and displacement remain, however, out of reach, and much more must be done to eliminate the looming threat of famine in this country.

“We must tackle the humanitarian needs while simultaneously looking at longer-term solutions. If we do not continue to save lives and in parallel build resilience, then we have only delayed a famine, not prevented one,” he warned.

The UN said 2017 was one of the most challenging years for Somalia, with the country precariously close to famine after several failed rainy seasons. 

The 2018 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) is an extension of the 2017 famine prevention efforts.

It prioritizes immediate relief operations in areas with significant numbers of people living in Crisis and Emergency (IPC Phases 3 and 4).

The HRP now also includes a strategy to address protection gaps, particularly during humanitarian crises and for those most vulnerable, such as the internally displaced, women and children.

According to the UN, food security needs have nearly doubled the five-year average, with an estimated 2,444,000 people in crisis and 866,000 in emergency—that is, one step away from famine—throughout Somalia.

The number of Somalis on the brink of famine has grown tenfold since this time last year. An estimated 1.2 million children are projected to be malnourished in 2018, 232,000 of whom will face life-threatening severe acute malnutrition.

De Clercq said with important progress made on the political and governance fronts, Somalia is on a positive trajectory, despite ongoing crises.

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EARLIER REPORTS:

UN agencies appeal for 864 mln USD to reach 3.9 mln Somalis

MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- UN agencies working in Somalia on Wednesday launched humanitarian appeal, seeking 864 million U.S. dollars to reach 3.9 million people with urgent life-saving assistance.

Peter de Clercq, the Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia who launched the Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) for 2017 in Mogadishu, called on the international community to scaled up humanitarian response through timely support to help meet urgent humanitarian needs.

“The humanitarian situation remains grim for millions of Somalis. We are faced with a slight but steady increase in the number of people in need, and most recently with a significant risk of further deterioration to famine,” de Clercq said.

The 2017 plan which is part of a three-year strategy (2016-2018) recognizes that the drivers of risk and vulnerability in Somalia are largely cyclical and long-running, and cannot be resolved in a single year.

The newly developed Plan for Somalia reflects a commitment by aid agencies to better support Somalis in addressing the extensive humanitarian needs throughout the country.

An estimated five million people are in need of humanitarian assistance and the UN says food security needs nearly double the five-year average, with an estimated 3.9 million people in need of urgent life-saving assistance.

According to the UN, about 320,000 children under the age of five years are acutely malnourished and in need of urgent nutrition support. Of these, 50,000 children are severely malnourished and far more vulnerable than any other group.

The launch of the appeal comes amid a worsening humanitarian situation in Somalia as expanding drought conditions have left hundreds of thousands of Somalis facing severe food and water shortages.

De Clercq said immediate support is required to prevent a significant deterioration of the humanitarian situation.

“Given the early warning provided by the humanitarian community and the Federal Government on the drought situation, early action is the only way to demonstrate that we have learnt the lessons from the past to avert another catastrophe,” he added.

The UN said protection violations remain at the center of the humanitarian crisis in Somalia and widespread human rights violations, instability and insecurity drive displacement and weaken the resilience of the most vulnerable.

The UN said at least 1.1 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) and other vulnerable people are exposed to protection risks.

Some 3.3 million people lack access to emergency health services and require improved access to water, sanitation and hygiene. Giving birth is one of the greatest risks to a Somali women’s life.

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Somalia forms core group to develop transition plan

MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- Somalia and international partners have formed a Transition Core Group to drive transfer of security responsibility to Somali security forces ahead of the exit by African Union peacekeeping mission (AMISOM) forces.

The group, formed by the Somali government in conjunction with AMISOM, the UN, the EU and other international partners, is tasked with the responsibility of developing a transition plan for the Horn of African nation.

“It is about organized, gradual, systematic transfer of responsibility to Federal Governmental of Somalia by AMISOM,” Simon Mulongo, AMISOM Deputy Head of Mission, said in a statement issued on Thursday night.

AMISOM said the group’s terms of reference include assisting with transition and delivering a draft transition plan by March.

Mulongo emphasized the need for effective and sustainable support as a key prerequisite to a successful transition plan.

“To overcome the current strategic operational gaps by AMISOM forces, it is by necessity that the said strategic resources are provided by the international community, to speed up the transition process,” said Mulongo.

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Senior Somalia navy officer killed by his junior in Mogadishu

MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- A senior navy commander in Somalia was shot dead in the capital Mogadishu on Thursday, officials said.

Navy deputy commander Said Marino was shot dead by his junior following a dispute.

“The commander was shot dead by his deputy after a scuffle. The police have arrested the killer and investigations are going on,” police commander Ali Mohamed told Xinhua.

Sources inside the port said the two had a quarrel before Marino was shot and killed.

Somalia government announced early last year it was investing in the navy to rebuild it after it became moribund following the civil war.

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Latest U.S. airstrike kills 4 Al-Shabaab fighters in Somalia

MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- Four Al-Shabaab terrorists were killed in a U.S. airstrike in southern Somalia on Thursday, the latest in a series of strikes against the militant group in the Horn of African nation, officials said Friday.

The U.S. Africa Command (Africom), which oversees American troops on the continent, said the strike, conducted in coordination with the Somali government, occurred approximately 50 kilometers northwest of Kismayo.

“No civilians were killed in this strike,” Africom said in a statement, vowing to continue to use all authorized and appropriate measures to disable terrorist threats.

Kismayo was once a stronghold of Al-Shabaab, served as its main revenue source through the port of Kismayo, before the military group was forced out by Kenyan forces in 2012. 

The U.S. forces alongside Somali and African Union forces have increased ground and air offensives against the militant group Al-Shabaab in the last few months.

This came as African Union forces have started a conditions based draw-down from the Horn of Africa nation.

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Somalia forces capture southern town from Al-Shabaab

MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- Somali army Thursday captured a town in the southern region and killed at least seven Al-Shabaab militants, including four senior commanders, an officer said Thursday.

Somali army 43rd infantry division commander General Ismail Sahardid told journalists the forces launched an attack on Bar-Sanguni town, some 45 km south of the coastal city of Kismayo, before wresting control.

Sahardid did not comment on possible casualties on his forces. He added the forces seized two technicals from the militants.

Somali and African Union forces have increased ground and air offensives against the militant group Al-Shabaab in the last few months.

This came as African Union forces have started a conditions based draw-down from the Horn of Africa nation.

Kismayo was one of the strongholds of Al-Shabaab, with its port being used as the group’s main revenue source, before it was forced out by Kenyan forces in 2012.

             

 

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