23 NGOs working in Somalia have issued a statement calling for urgent aid for Somalia ahead of a key meeting being held in Geneva today by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) as part of its Global Call for Support and Action of El Niño.
The ongoing El Niño of 2015 -2016 has proven to be one of the worst on record with drought and excessive rainfall affecting over 60 million people worldwide. The effects on the Horn of Africa have been particularly severe overwhelming the capacity of already vulnerable communities to survive.
The ongoing drought has affected hundreds of thousands in Somaliland and Puntland compounding an already challenging humanitarian situation in Somalia. Severe shortages of food and water, along with spiraling food prices and the deaths of livestock, have plunged many families into destitution.
Urgent humanitarian action is needed immediately to avert a bigger disaster as last witnessed in the 2010-2012 famine that resulted in the death of over a quarter of a million Somalis including 133,000 children under 5. Half of these casualties were there before the famine was declared. Consequently, we cannot wait for famine to be declared to take action.
“At this time, we can best mitigate the impact f the dr ught crisis on affected populations by ensuring a concerted and collective effort from all actors (government, donors and humanitarian etc.) to avoid a repeat f the famine tragedy,” said Abdikadir M hamud, Mercy Corps Somalia, country Director. “We must not only channel our efforts towards providing immediate lifesaving assistance that is urgently needed, but also see to it that the affected communities are assisted to build their resilience against future shocks” he added.
Without adequate financial support to respond to the humanitarian crisis in Somalia, the situation can only get worse. We urge all stakeholders to do more to ensure a swift and urgent response that will protect lives and livelihoods whilst heeding the lessons learnt in the 2011 Horn of Africa drought.
All actors need to unite and come through for Somalia at this time of dire and urgent need to prevent an even larger disaster in the coming months. The impact of the drought can be mitigated if willing and able stakeholders channel their efforts towards ensuring everything humanly possible is done to avert the crisis.
The time to act is now; to save lives and help families protect their livelihoods.