The UN agencies working in Somalia on Wednesday launched humanitarian appeal for 2018, seeking 1.6 billion U.S. dollars to reach 5.4 million people with urgent life-saving assistance.
Peter de Clercq, the Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia who launched the Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) for 2018 Plan in Mogadishu, said the money is urgently needed to save 5.4 million lives from severe drought in Somalia.
“Working together with the Somali authorities and with historical levels of support from the international community, I am proud that we averted a possible famine last year,” de Clercq said in a statement issued in Mogadishu.
He said the lasting solutions to drought, conflict and displacement remain, however, out of reach, and much more must be done to eliminate the looming threat of famine in this country.
“We must tackle the humanitarian needs while simultaneously looking at longer-term solutions. If we do not continue to save lives and in parallel build resilience, then we have only delayed a famine, not prevented one,” he warned.
The UN said 2017 was one of the most challenging years for Somalia, with the country precariously close to famine after several failed rainy seasons.
The 2018 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) is an extension of the 2017 famine prevention efforts.
It prioritizes immediate relief operations in areas with significant numbers of people living in Crisis and Emergency (IPC Phases 3 and 4).
The HRP now also includes a strategy to address protection gaps, particularly during humanitarian crises and for those most vulnerable, such as the internally displaced, women and children.
According to the UN, food security needs have nearly doubled the five-year average, with an estimated 2,444,000 people in crisis and 866,000 in emergency — that is, one step away from famine — throughout Somalia.
The number of Somalis on the brink of famine has grown tenfold since this time last year. An estimated 1.2 million children are projected to be malnourished in 2018, 232,000 of whom will face life-threatening severe acute malnutrition.
De Clercq said with important progress made on the political and governance fronts, Somalia is on a positive trajectory, despite ongoing crises.