Regional leaders front joint efforts as drought plunges millions into hunger

The President of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta (right), the President of Somalia Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo (center) and the first lady of Somalia Seynab Abdi Moalim at the inauguration ceremony of President Farmaajo in Mogadishu on February 22, 2017. AMISOM Photo / Ilyas Ahmed
The President of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta (right), the President of Somalia Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo (center) and the first lady of Somalia Seynab Abdi Moalim at the inauguration ceremony of President Farmaajo in Mogadishu on February 22, 2017. AMISOM Photo / Ilyas Ahmed

Regional heads of states and governments have vowed to a joint approach towards the ongoing drought in the East and Horn of African which the UN estimates is affecting upwards of 12 million people.

In a joint statement in Mogadishu Wednesday, presidents from Kenya, Djibouti, Somalia and Ethiopia’s Prime Minister promised to closer collaboration while also calling on the international community and all stakeholders to marshal resources to avert further suffering in the region.

“While each of our governments is mobilising to respond, the dire situation calls for international collaboration and regional partnership between governments, civil society, aid organisations, business and international donors,” the leaders said.

The leaders who were attending President Mohamed Farmaajo’s inauguration in Mogadishu warned the risks of a famine unfolding in Somalia could pose security and political implications in the region and beyond as coping mechanisms push communities into more vulnerability and possible conflicts.

Famine signs

The UN announced this month Somalia was staring at a famine with signs being noted as 6.2 million people are in dire lack of food. Unless urgent action is taken, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Somalia Peter de Clerq warned, the 2011 scenario could fast play out in Somalia. More than 250,000 people succumbed to the 2011 famine.

The leaders also pledged to ‘strengthen cross-border collaboration and efforts to establish security and stability in Somalia to ensure an effective response to the drought and to enable further progress in peace building and state building in Somalia’.

Noting that many people were being forced to move within countries and across the borders for survival as a result of the drought, the leaders said they would provide appropriate protection and assistance to such groups.

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