UN warns Somalia on verge of humanitarian crisis.

Pillip LazzariniSomalia could experience massive humanitarian crises against a backdrop of dwindling funds to support life-saving interventions, a senior UN relief official for Somalia said on Monday.

Humanitarian coordinator for Somalia, Philippe Lazzarini, told a news conference in Nairobi that Somalia risked drifting into a humanitarian crisis due to fragile food situation, a spike in diseases and insecurity.

“The humanitarian needs in Somalia remain vast based on credible assessment on the ground. An estimated two million people are grappling with food stress, malnutrition and communicable diseases,” said Lazzarini.

He warned that the humanitarian crises experienced in 2011 could repeat itself in the absence of urgent interventions.

Relief agencies sounded warning of severe food and water crises in Somalia in November last year.

The UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) requested member states and donors to provide 933 million dollars to support life saving interventions in Somalia.

Lazzarini disclosed that donors had so far provided a partly 170 million dollars.
“We are facing a significant resource gap that has undermined life-saving programmes like provision of food, water, sanitation and health,” Lazzarini said.
Somalia remains an epicentre of humanitarian tragedies fueled by insecurity, climate shocks and broken infrastructure.

Lazzarini regretted that the response to Somalia’s crises was negligible as the international community diverted its attention to new humanitarian catastrophes in South Sudan, Syria and Central Africa Republic.
“Somalia is among the five top countries in the world with the highest child malnutrition rates. One in seven children under the age of five is acutely malnourished.

“Somalia mothers have the second highest death rate in the world after Chad,” said Lazzarini.
He noted that the one million internally displaced persons in Somalia have endured appalling living conditions due to inadequate access to water, shelter, education and basic hygiene.

The food situation in Somalia will worsen in the coming months based on early warning alerts issued by relief agencies.
“We need a minimum of 60 million U.S. dollars now to avoid an emergency in the coming weeks.

“These funds are needed to treat 50, 000 children from acute malnutrition, transport goods by road and air, avail food assistance and seeds for the next harvest season,” said Lazzarini.

He added that the new funding will be channelled towards provision of clean water and immunization programmes.
Relief agencies could terminate their life-saving projects in Somalia due to funding shortfall.

Lazzarini revealed that provision of primary healthcare to three million people could be terminated due to lack of funds.

Xinhua/NAN – NAIROBI, Kenya


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