Humanitarian Agencies working in Somalia on Thursday, launched a humanitarian appeal, seeking 105 million dollars to save lives of over one million Somalis in drought-affected areas.
The Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, Peter de Clercq, told newsmen in Nairobi that the appeal would enable aid agencies to increase critical, life-saving assistance and build resilience for Somalis in the drought-affected northern regions of the country.
“We have reached a critical point in Puntland and Somali land. Urgent action is required right now.
“If not, we risk a rapid and deep deterioration of the situation, as drought conditions may worsen in the coming months,” Clercq stressed.
Clercq warned that communities were already losing their means of survival due to severe drought conditions which have taken a toll on lives and livelihoods.
Report says the call for aid covers the six-month period from April to September and builds on the 2016 Humanitarian Response Program and the 2015 Contingency Plan for El Niño in Somalia.
The agencies said that the severe drought, exacerbated by El Nino conditions, which is ravaging parts of Puntland and Somaliland, has compounded an already challenging humanitarian situation.
It noted that an estimated 1.7 million people, or nearly 40 per cent of the 4.6 million people living in these areas, are in need of humanitarian assistance and livelihood support.
“Of these, 1.3 million people are at risk of slipping into acute food insecurity if they do not receive assistance.
“Nearly 385,000 people already face acute food insecurity,’’ he added.
According to Clercq, lack of funding is hampering progress for some 95 national and international humanitarian organisations currently working in Puntland and Somaliland.
“If funding is not secured now, the consequences will be grave, especially in light of a less than favourable forecast for the coming rainy season, the primary cropping season.
“Malnutrition-related deaths have been reported in Awdal region. Loss of livestock due to poor pasture and water availability is negatively impacting family income and causing a sharp rise in indebtedness,’’ he said.
The coordinator said that without access to emergency health services, water and sanitation, thousands of people could face death due to preventable causes.
However he noted that funding levels were particularly low for critical, life-saving clusters such as food security, nutrition, health, water, sanitation and hygiene.
The agency explained that of the 885 million dollars requested in the 2016 Humanitarian Response Plan, only 97 million dollars or 11 per cent has been received so far.
Also, the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) would release 11 million to provide urgent humanitarian assistance for 224,000 drought-affected people in the northern parts of Somalia.
The Somalia Humanitarian Fund has also allocated 6.5 million dollars to compliment the CERF allocation.