Push for global response to avert famine in Somalia, agencies urge UN chief

Internally displaced Somali people gather around a water point at a settlement camp in Hodan district south of capital Mogadishu, file. REUTERS/Feisal Omar
Internally displaced Somali people gather around a water point at a settlement camp in Hodan district south of capital Mogadishu, file. REUTERS/Feisal Omar

Humanitarian agencies in Somalia have warned slow response and limited attention at the global arena could worsen the drought effects in Somalia and ultimately plunge the country into another famine.

In a letter to the UN Secretary General António Guterres, 40 agencies under the Somalia NGO Consortium banner have pleaded with the UN chief to make the drought ravaging Somali and the region a global agenda and marshal resources to avert deaths and suffering as witnessed in the 2011 famine.

Upwards of 260,000 people perished in the 2011 drought in Somalia, half of them children and a refugee crisis spiraled forcing many to move to urban centres as Mogadishu and neighbouring countries.

“We are concerned that Somalia’s possible famine is not being seen with the urgency it demands globally,” the agencies warned adding, “And would request you 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.”

The agencies noted lessons must be learned from the 2011 scenario which they observe was precipitated by ‘a systemic failures on the part of the international community’.

To avert the crisis, the agencies called on the UN to mobilise support from Member countries including ‘encouraging development donors and new donor countries, whose participation and involvement is critical as part of the relief and long term efforts to re-align their priorities in the immediate short-term to avert another famine in Somalia.

Communication

Further, the agencies have urged the UN to open communication lines on the gravity of the situation and urge member states to provide timely financial support to the relief efforts and free it of bureaucratic measures which they noted cause costly delays.

The call follows declaration by the UN this month and humanitarian agencies that signs of the 2011 famine were on sight in Somalia and that urgent efforts must be put in place to stem a deterioration of the situation.

Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo is today chairing a high level partnership meeting in Mogadishu bringing together federal member states presidents and representatives of the international community to bolsters humanitarian relief response.

 

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