UN ramps up humanitarian assistance to avoid famine in Somalia

It said the escalating emergency calls for sustained scaling up of response and flexibility in reprogramming, especially given that weather forecasts are predicting an average to below-average rainy season this month.

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UN ramps up humanitarian assistance to avoid famine in Somalia

MOGADISHU, Somalia -- The United Nations relief agency said it is scaling up humanitarian interventions to help 4.9 million of the most vulnerable people in Somalia.

Adam Abdelmoula, the UN resident and humanitarian coordinator, said the levels of need are rapidly rising, surpassing available capacities and resources.

Around 4.9 million people are affected by this wave of severe drought, and it is expected to get worse between now and the end of June,' warned Abdelmoula in a statement issued on Wednesday evening after leading a UN inter-agency team for a visit to Galkayo in northern Somalia to assess the impact of the drought.

According to the latest drought situation report from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Somalia's drought emergency has deteriorated to a point where the country is facing the risk of famine.

OCHA noted that humanitarian agencies, authorities, and local communities are ramping up responses and reprogramming activities to address the impact of the drought, adding that the levels of need are rapidly rising, surpassing available capacities and resources.

It said the escalating emergency calls for sustained scaling up of response and flexibility in reprogramming, especially given that weather forecasts are predicting an average to below-average rainy season this month.

The UN delegation heard first-hand of the dire conditions that local communities of internally displaced people (IDPs) are enduring amid the severe drought affecting the country, with the visit also providing extra motivation to do more to help those in need as the risk of famine in Somalia grows.

It gave me the firsthand testimony that I need to provide to our donors and to let them know that it is not a fictional thing to talk about the 1.4 million malnourished children, 330,000 of whom are at risk of dying by the end of this summer if we don't step up our engagement and provide them with the support they need,' said Abdelmoula after visiting two IDP camps.

The visiting delegation spoke with UN staff on the ground working with local authorities to support assistance efforts and interact with camp residents.

It is really heart-wrenching, especially seeing that there are so many children in these IDP camps. I asked them, how many of you go to school? It turned out that none of the girls are going to school in these two camps that I visited. And among the boys, less than 50 percent are attending school,' said Abdelmoula. This is just devastating and we should redouble our effort to bring this to the attention of the international community and those who could afford to assist. We should also leave no stone unturned in order to help these communities that are hurting so enormously.

Source:/Xinhua
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