Canada is committing up to $15 million this year to respond to ongoing humanitarian needs in Somalia and ensure gains made thus far in the Horn of Africa nation are not eroded especially by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Canadian Minister for International Development Karina Gould said in an exclusive interview with Goobjoog News her country was committed to supporting Somalia’s recovery process but warned the COVID-19 pandemic might drain progress made to date unless a coordinated international response is put in place.
“In 2020, Canada is providing $15.85 million to UN agencies, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and NGOs to address ongoing humanitarian needs in Somalia,” Ms Gould said, adding “Canada remains committed to our ongoing humanitarian and development projects, as we recognize that COVID-19 does not erase the preexisting challenges, but rather exacerbates them.”
Canada announced a $159 million in April to help respond to COVID-19 pandemic globally including $84.5 million for multilateral organizations providing humanitarian assistance in response to the crisis.
Out of these, $1.5 million goes to Somalia Humanitarian Fund which is managed by the UN humanitarian agency OCHA.
“In addition, Canada is striving to ensure that our response to COVID-19 is in addition to essential life-saving global health and humanitarian programs addressing other key crises and situations, and in particular programs aimed at women, children, adolescents and vulnerable populations, which too often are the first to be de-prioritized in light of other pressures. Canada is working to ensure that international partners can maintain their services where possible,” the Minister said.
Ms Gould said it was critical to support and work with multilateral organisations such as the World Health Organisation and other UN agencies to ensure a more coordinated approach noting her country had established a working framework with these organisations.
“Canada’s international response to COVID-19 is being closely coordinated with multilateral partners, including the World Health Organization, which is playing a critical leadership and coordination role in the pandemic response,” Ms Gould said.
“For Somalia, we work very closely with the Government and the UN Mission in Somalia to develop coordinated responses to global challenges like the pandemic.”
Somalia has since recorded over 2000 COVID-19 cases and close to 80 fatalities.