UN, Somalia launch $1.6 Billion appeal for humanitarian aid
Source: VOA, Thursday February 1, 2024
MOGADISHU, SOMALIA — The United Nations and the Somali government have launched a $1.6 billion appeal to address humanitarian challenges in Somalia. The 2024 Humanitarian Needs Action Plan seeks to provide life-saving support to over 5 million Somalis this year.
The U.N. says climate shocks, conflict, widespread poverty and disease outbreaks continue to drive humanitarian needs in the Horn of Africa country.
The appeal comes as Somalia struggles to deal with long dry spells followed by heavy rains and deadly flash floods.
“In terms of the overall humanitarian situation in Somalia for 2024, World Vision sees humanitarian needs remaining high in 2024 due to recurrent shocks induced by climate change and underlying factors such as conflict and insecurity,” says Suganya Kimbrough, program development and quality assurance director for World Vision Somalia.
But “the number of people needing humanitarian assistance in 2024 has decreased to 6.9 million from 8.2 million people in 2023, according to the latest draft of the 2024 Humanitarian Needs and Response Plan,” she added.
Kimbrough says funding for the U.N.’s Somalia Humanitarian Fund currently stands at only $56.6 million, leaving a significant gap between resources available and the need.
She added that most of the funding goes to life-saving interventions because Somalia remains fragile.
However, Kimbrough said, humanitarian organizations, including World Vision, are gradually charting long-term sustainable solutions.
“Over the last few years, World Vision Somalia has seen a gradual shift in funding, focusing more on longer-term resilience linked to the humanitarian development peace nexus and away from short-term humanitarian responses,” she said.
“Continued investments in disaster risk management, system strengthening, social cohesion and livelihood adaptation, and including mechanisms such as crisis modifiers are all key to foster resilience and build the capacity of communities to cope with recurrent shocks,” she added.
Close to three million Somalis are living in internally displaced persons camps and largely depend on support from the government and aid agencies.
Marya Ahmed, a mother of seven based in a camp on the outskirts of Mogadishu, says, she has have been living with all children in the camp for the last five years. She said they get just a little food and medical support, and that she really wants to leave the camp one day and start a new life. Right now, she added, she doesn’t have the means.
Analysts say whereas the annual call for international support has been critical in staving off humanitarian suffering, it hardly resolves Somalia’s food security problems.
Ali Mohamed, a food security expert and researcher in Mogadishu, says the appeal by the Somali government and aid agencies is critical for millions of Somalis who are starving. But, he adds, we’re dealing with cyclical problems and we’re yet to find a lasting solution that will enable populations to develop the capacity to respond to shocks and sustainably generate their food.
Studies indicate that Somalia contributes only a tiny percentage of the greenhouse gases responsible for global warming but suffers more than most countries from adverse climate change conditions.
Mohamed says the situation could get worse because of dwindling global resources and dire humanitarian situations elsewhere.
“I am worried that donors are increasingly getting fatigued with Somalia as we have witnessed recently. There have to be deliberate efforts by the government to seriously invest in food systems and fully exploit the local resources to gradually reduce foreign dependence.”
According to the humanitarian agency OCHA, the 2023 appeal was only 43% funded, raising concerns about a similar scenario this year.