Donor fatigue, conflict worsen humanitarian disaster in Somalia

Posted on 20/05/2011

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The African Union (AU) has called for urgent African support for Somalia to enable it deal with a drought, worsened by huge displacement of populations due to the ongoing military operations in the country.

An ongoing military offensive in Somalia, coupled with the worst drought in decades has displaced 2.4 million people in the Horn of African nation amid an escalating drop in funding the country’s relief operations. African Union Commission Chairperson Jean Ping said the worsening crisis of starvation and malnutrition in Somalia had affected 241,000 children, making it one of the worst humanitarian emergencies in the world.

“Almost a third of the country’s population are currently living in dire conditions as a result of the ongoing conflict and violence, compounded by the drought affecting Somalia, one of the worst in recent memory,” Ping said.

One in four children are reported to be suffering from acute malnutrition.

The AU said all member states should join hands with the other international donors to urgently provide the support required to assist the Somali people at their time of need.

“The international community has the duty and obligation to assist the Somali people, who have been experiencing two decades of untold violence and suffering,” Ping said.

Somali’s government forces have claimed victory against Al Shabaab rebels since the launch of its latest military offensive.

International humanitarian agencies and the AU are currently worried by the growing international donor apathy to the crisis in Somalia.

There has been a massive 41% drop in funding for Somalia’s humanitarian emergencies over the last two years, covering 2008 and 2010.

According to a report, compiled by the AU Commission for its Peace and Security Council (PSC), funding for Somalia’s humanitarian emergencies has declined by US$ 178 million in those two years alone.

The crisis in Somalia is expected to top a priority list for the 15-member UN Security Council delegation, due in Nairobi, Kenya, on 25 May after holding a meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, with the members of the PSC.

So adverse is the crisis of funding the humanitarian emergency, that sources close to the UN Development Programme (UNDP) Office for Somalia told PANA of the crippling of its entire livelihood programme support projects in Somalia.

The livelihood projects focus on helping Somalia’s cattle-rearing communities to stay alive and sustain their wealth as donors continue to withdraw funding.

Ping said out of the US$ 529 million sought this year, only 25% has been secured.

Source: Africque en Ligne
Thursday, May 19, 2011

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Posted in: African papers