F.A.O. appeals for famine funds and food for Somalia
Saturday, December 08, 2012
By Njoroge Kaburo
NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is seeking 443 million U.S. dollars over the next three years to help Somalia recover from severe famine which ended early 2012.
FAO Representative for Somalia Luca Alinovi said on Wednesday although 2.12 million Somalis are still in crisis, the country is on the path to recovery, adding that the funding will enable the food agency to continue helping the population move forward following the famine.
“This move aims at sustaining the momentum in order not only to avoid a repeat of last year’s famine but also adequately to prepare communities in the most drought-prone zones to be able to face future crises with little help,” Alinovi added.
FAO is seeking 375 million dollars and a separate 68 million dollars for the next three years, he said in a statement released in Nairobi on Wednesday.
The UN humanitarian agencies 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 by conflict, drought, floods and food insecurity.
The appeal, which is part of 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.
Working with national and international partners, FAO said its aid strategy is to help farmers and herders rebuild long-term resilience.
In 2011, a combination of years of conflict, drought and high food prices drove over 4 million people, half of Somalia’s population into acute food insecurity leaving tens of thousands dead, especially children under five. Tens of thousands died, especially children under five.
“Food security is a long-term process and that is why we are emphasizing long term planning under the Consolidated Appeal Process 2013-15,” Alinovi said.
He said the UN food agency would pay special attention to helping agricultural and pastoral communities cope with recurrent drought, which led to the 2011 crisis.
With 3.8 million people in need of assistance, the UN says humanitarian crisis in Somalia is one of the largest in the world as more than 1.1 million people are internally displaced and over 1 million Somalis live outside the country as refugees.
FAO’s Cash in return for work, as well as the provision of improved seeds for the next harvest, is aimed at helping to reduce the number of refugees and cut a growing dependency on aid. Crises at household level often deteriorate fast when families lose their only assets and are at risk of starvation.
“FAO is working together with the UN refugee agency to restore the agriculture-based livelihoods of people affected by the vicious cycle of the crisis by designing a resettlement package that helps them to return to their homes while ensuring they can cope with future shocks,” said Alinovi.
The aid delivered by FAO during the recent famine to more than a million people was in the form of cash-based interventions that helped vulnerable communities to immediately buy food, which, together with agricultural inputs and livestock health services, allowed people to remain in their homes.
According to FAO, fertilizers and improved seeds were distributed in a move that enabled farmers in the regions of Bay and Shabelle to more than double their production of maize and sorghum last year.
Adequate and timely funding also permitted FAO to roll out treatment and mass vaccination campaigns against diseases endemic to Somalia that threaten the herds.
“At least 14 million livestock were vaccinated against Peste des Petits Ruminants (PPR). PPR is an acute highly contagious viral disease of sheep and goats, characterized by fever, erosive stomatitis, enteritis, pneumonia, and death,” FAO said.
The UN agencies - FAO, UNICEF and WFP - have adopted a Joint Resilience Strategy to prioritize household/community resilience within their programs.
The Strategy calls for a paradigm shift to promote concerted actions to help affected Somali society cope with crises on the basis of community-based initiatives.
“We are working together to place a greater emphasis on the reduction and management of shocks and enhanced investments in building productive, human, social, natural and financial resources within households and communities, recognizing the different roles, capacities and needs of women and men, girls and boys,” said Sikander Khan, the Representative for UNICEF Somalia.
The focus on resilience bridges humanitarian and development programming to better address overlapping risks and stresses.
In its initial stages, the program is targeting 42,000 people currently displaced around Somalia. They will be provided with agricultural kits (e.g. rice, maize and vegetable seeds, fertilizers and farming tools) and taught how to use them.
Additional support will be channeled through unconditional cash transfers for the poorest families, as well as cash-for-work opportunities. FAO will also help to strengthen animal husbandry, agroprocessing and marketing, focusing on youth and households headed by women.