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Somali drought envoy arrives in Canada's capital

Tuesday September 27, 2022

Ottawa (HOL) - Somalia's special drought envoy Abdirahman Abdishakur Warsame arrived in Canada's capital Ottawa on Monday evening, where he is expected to meet with Canadian government officials and the local diaspora community.

Warsame was welcomed at Ottawa's international airport by a small group of local residents.

In a tweet on Monday late afternoon, the special envoy and MP said that intention of his trip was to "galvanize support for the people affected by the drought in Somalia and push for concerted efforts to prevent famine."

On Sunday, the special envoy was in Minneapolis, home to the largest Somalia community in the US, to meet with Somali-Americans for a fundraiser and brief them on famine relief efforts.

"I had a productive meeting with a group of elected officials, entrepreneurs, religious leaders & community activists from the Somali community in Minnesota. We shared views on advocacy & resource mobilization for response to help our people affected by the drought."

The Minister will be at a community event in Ottawa on Wednesday, where he will brief the Somali-Canadian diaspora community on drought relief efforts and what role they can play in assisting.

The event will be held at the Ottawa Conference and Event Centre on Wednesday.

According to UN projections, parts of Somalia will be struck by famine in the coming months following a fifth consecutive failed rain. The forecast is more dire than in 2011 when famine in Somalia killed over a quarter-million people, nearly half of whom were children.

According to local and international aid agencies, women and children bear the brunt of hunger like other famines.

As a special envoy, one of Warsame's main tasks is to secure funding to avert the predicted famine.

This week, international donors pledged hundreds of millions of dollars in additional aid for the Horn of Africa after climate and drought experts sounded the alarm in Somalia and other countries.

The head of the US Agency for International Development (USAID), Samantha Power, said Washington would provide another $151 million for famine relief in Somalia, by far the largest contribution.

USAID has provided nearly $1.3 billion in humanitarian assistance in the Horn since 2020.

In contrast, Canada's most major contribution came in April when Global Affairs Canada announced $73 million in funding to respond to the drought in the Horn of Africa, which brought Canada's total humanitarian funding for the region to $84.45 million in 2022.

The UN humanitarian chief, Martin Griffiths, visited Mogadishu in early September and estimated that $1 billion in new funds would urgently be needed to avert Somalia's famine. He warned that two more dry seasons are expected to compound the historic drought that has hit the Horn of Africa nation in the coming months and early next year.


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