The United Nations has launched its annual humanitarian appeal for Somalia in Mogadishu for the first time in two decades.
This year’s appeal is for US$1.3 billion to address the immediate needs of the Somali people over the next year and enhance resilience in the country.
According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the appeal is part of the UN's three-year strategy for 2013-2015. It covers a total of 369 humanitarian projects targeting 3.8 million Somalis in need. “With 3.8 million people in need of assistance, the humanitarian crisis in Somalia is one of the largest in the world. More than 1.1 million people are internally displaced and over 1 million Somalis live outside the country as refugees;” it said.
The latest report of the Famine Early Warning System Network also says that over 2 million people still remain food insecure either at stressed or crisis level.
The UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, Stefano Porretti, presenting the appeal said the humanitarian situation in Somalia "remains critical", but the improvement in the food supply situation and the new security and political landscape "presented opportunities to break the cycle of recurring crises brought on by drought and conflict”. He noted that it was possible to prevent any possible future shocks in Somalia from developing into a humanitarian catastrophe "by strengthening Somalis’ ability to cope with droughts and floods."
OCHA has also made it clear it wants to see a comprehensive peace process that will see Somalis able to return to cultivate their farms to improve food production. Mr Porretti described the road to resilience as “long and difficult.” At the same time, he added, “There is an absolute imperative to continue supporting the humanitarian work in Somalia. The new three-year humanitarian appeal allows for greater continuity in programming and aims at responding to the existing emergency needs of the population in crisis in a sustainable manner.”