The United Kingdom has announced a £ 60 million (about $77 million) aid package to Somalia to combat the drought gripping the Horn of Africa.
The announcement was made by the Britain’s foreign aid minister, Priti Patel, during a visit to Mogadishu where she met with Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khayre to discuss the humanitarian situation.
“I have today announced that we’ll give another 60 million pounds to Somalia for the collective efforts here in terms of the humanitarian support Somalia needs,” Ms. Patel said, adding that the latest aid package is in addition to the £ 100 million already disbursed since her last visit to Somalia over six months ago.
The United Kingdom will also allocate £30 million for Ethiopia where the number of people in need of food as risen sharply.
The latest aid package brings the total The UK has now pledged for the response to the humanitarian crises in East Africa at £321.5 million for this year.
“The UK stepped up early with support and lobbied others to do more which has prevented the spread of famine. We are showing our continued leadership with more food, more water and more medicine for those at imminent risk of dying from drought and conflict.
The humanitarian situation in Somalia is rapidly deteriorating with the credible risk of famine in 2017. Nearly half the population is food insecure. The severe drought conditions have led to massive internal displacement within the country as thousands flee their home ins search of food.
The new funds will pay for:
- 350,000 people with emergency food
- Access to clean water and sanitation to over 1 million people
- Shelter for 100,000 people
- Vaccinations for 2 million livestock
- And protection for 20,000 vulnerable women at risk from violence and trafficking.
Speaking at the UN Drought Operations Coordination Centre in Mogadishu, the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, Mohamed Moalim, thanked the UK and other donors for their steadfast support.
“It is now well known that this drought actually has very similar characteristics to the one in 2011, and the difference now is the timely responses and the interventions made by everybody. We’re very grateful to our international partners, to the UN and of course to our donors like yourselves,” said Mr. Moalim.
While in Mogadishu, the International Development Secretary delivered food aid destined for feeding centers to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) officials at an airport hangar in Mogadishu.
“These are supplies that will be going out today to those children across Somalia in the drought-affected areas who are suffering from terrible malnutrition because of the drought,” Ms. Patel noted.
During the one-day visit, Ms. Patel, who was accompanied by the British Ambassador to Somalia, David Concar also held discussions with the Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, Peter de Clercq, and other humanitarian officials.
She is the first Cabinet Minister to visit Africa since the general election.