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UN urges world to sustain aid flow to Somalia

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

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NAIROBI - The UN humanitarian agency has called on the world to build on the effective delivery of aid that helped roll back last year's famine in Somalia, where some 2.5 million people remain in need of humanitarian support.

UN Assistant Secretary-General (ASG) for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator Catherine Bragg said the key focus should be on helping people regain their livelihoods, which is crucial to building resilience to future droughts and other shocks.

"I urge all stakeholders to recommit to protect the most vulnerable and ensure that their basic needs are met," Bragg said according to a statement issued in Nairobi on Monday.

Bragg concluded a five-day mission to Somalia and Kenya on Saturday to gauge progress in humanitarian efforts to respond to the consequences of the 2011 drought. "The local and international aid workers collaborating in Somalia have proven they can make a difference," she noted.

"We are strengthening coordination with key actors, including Turkey and the Organization of the Islamic Conference, which is vital to ensure that all of our resources are used efficiently for the benefit of the Somali people."

During her visit to Mogadishu, Bragg visited internally displaced persons' (IDP) settlements and met with government officials, key humanitarian actors and stakeholders, including Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) of Somalia, and some members of the diplomatic corps.

She urged the TFG and the international community to keep the crisis in Somalia high on its agenda.

Bragg said famine conditions are no longer present in the Horn of Africa nation, largely due to the effective delivery of aid and the good harvest at the beginning of the year, but the humanitarian situation remains critical.

"We must build on the fragile gains. The number of people who need food aid decreased by 1.5 million, but 2.5 million people is still in crisis and that is a very large number," she said.

Last week, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said a major funding gap is threatening efforts to boost food security and development in the Sahel region of West Africa and in the Horn of Africa in the east.

The Horn of Africa, which includes countries such as Somalia and Djibouti, experienced a food crisis last year that left an estimated 13 million people dependent on humanitarian assistance.


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