February 22, 2018

Drought-stricken Somalia 'hangs in the balance': UN chief

14 May 2017, 01:10 | Rex Hubbard

President Uhuru Kenyatta listening to opening remarks at the Somalia conference in London

President Uhuru Kenyatta listening to opening remarks at the Somalia conference in London

Theresa May said on Thursday that the priority was to "degrade al-Shabaab by having Somali forces take over the security of the country".

(Ecofin Agency) - The United Nations said it is seeking further $900 million this year to resolve crisis in Somalia where more than 6 million people, including about 275,000 malnourished children, need humanitarian aid.

The conference is co-chaired by British Prime Minister Theresa May, UN Secretary-General António Guterres, and the President of Somalia Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed.

The UN chief had travelled two months ago to the capital, Mogadishu, and Baidoa, in the south-western Bay region, to ask the people in Somalia if they were receiving aid and to appeal for more support from the worldwide community.

Guterres said the drought was Somalia's "most pressing priority" and appealed for an additional $900 million (828 million euros) by the end of the year to prevent it worsening into a starvation.

May made a long-term commitment to reinforce Somali security forces and insure that assistance is rapidly provided to the country.

In the coming few years, the global community should continue giving political, financial and logistical support to AMISOM and Somalia's national security architecture to help stabilize Somalia, he added.

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May said Somalia now had a "critical window of opportunity" under Farmajo to take control of its own security and build its economic capacity.

No fewer than 680,000 people have been displaced due to drought since November 2016, including 7,000 people who have crossed into neighboring Ethiopia and Kenya.

The African Union (ANISOM) troops have clawed back most of Somalia's main towns and cities from al Shabaab since they helped drive the Al Qaeda-linked insurgents out of the capital Mogadishu in 2010.

"We want Somalia to rise again", she said. The conference did not, however, focus exclusively on addressing the current severe humanitarian crisis. "And if we don't have more sophisticated and better weaponry definitely this war will continue for another 10 years", he told a news conference.

Former U.S. President Barack Obama is in Milan to deliver a keynote speech on food security and the environment, two issues that he has long worked on. To that end, I will spare no effort to realizing the promise of my campaign, which was to fight Somalia's three major enemies: "terrorism, corruption and poverty".

Starvation has already gripped South Sudan, with hunger killing many there and in Somalia, while a national emergency has been declared in Kenya and there are fears of a new wave of drought in Ethiopia.

He touched on the recent drought afflicting the region - a situation that he said bore security implications with the continued flooding of refugees to stable countries.

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