Wednesday, December 05, 2012
UNITED NATIONS, Dec. 4 — The United Nations on Tuesday launched a 1.3-billion-U.S.-dollar humanitarian appeal to address the immediate needs of the Somali people over the next year and enhance resilience in the country, which has for decades been mired in conflict, drought, floods and food insecurity.
The appeal, which is part of a three-year strategy, will go to 369 humanitarian projects targeting 3.8 million Somalis in need, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
The strategy will be implemented by 177 national and international non-governmental organizations and UN agencies operating in Somalia.
“While the humanitarian situation in Somalia remains critical, the improvement in the food security situation and the new security and political landscape present opportunities to break the cycle of recurring crises brought on by drought and conflict,” said the UN humanitarian coordinator in the Horn of Africa country, Stefano Porretti.
“By strengthening Somalis’ ability to cope with droughts and floods we can prevent future shocks from developing into a humanitarian catastrophe,” he said.
After decades of factional fighting and lawlessness, the East African country has been undergoing a peace and national reconciliation process, with a series of landmark steps in past months that have helped to bring an end to the country’s nine-year political transition period.
However, it is still facing one of the largest humanitarian crises in the world, with 1.1 million people who have been internally displaced and more than one million that live outside the country as refugees.
“The road to resilience will be long and difficult,” Porretti said. “There is an absolute imperative to continue supporting the humanitarian work in Somalia. The new three-year humanitarian appeal allows for greater continuity in programming and aims at responding to the existing emergency needs of the population in crisis in a sustainable manner.”
The 2013-2015 appeal, which was launched in the Somali capital of Mogadishu, was presented by Porretti, along with Somali Minister of Interior and National Security Abdikarim Hussein Guled, who is responsible for humanitarian affairs.
“This is a humanitarian event, not a political one. It is the first humanitarian gathering in Mogadishu for over 20 years. Somalia and its people are happy that the humanitarian community is presenting the strategy to us on our home soil,” Guled was quoted by OCHA as saying.
The 2012 humanitarian appeal for Somalia has been 57 percent funded, with more than 668 million U.S. dollars provided out of 1. 1 billion dollars requested, the UN agency added.