2007 Humanitarian appeal for Somalia launched as droughts, flood and conflict exacerbate the country's dire humanitarian situation

Nairobi, 14 December - The Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, Mr. Eric Laroche, today launched the 2007 Humanitarian Appeal for Somalia which requests US$ 237,112,824 to alleviate the suffering of an estimated 1.8 million Somalis, including 1.4 chronically food insecure and 400,000 internally displaced.

Of the 1.4 million food insecure, 1.1 million (or 80%) are located in southern and central regions, which remain the most underserved in terms of provision of humanitarian assistance. In 2007 the humanitarian community will focus on encouraging more international organizations to be present in these two areas to tackle the dire humanitarian conditions.

The Humanitarian Appeal also focuses on meeting the urgent humanitarian needs of Somalia's 400,000 internally displaced (IDPs) who own few assets and are subject to multiple human rights violations. In 2007, the humanitarian community is committed to making a difference in their lives, particularly in Mogadishu where an estimated quarter of a million IDPs are currently unable to access sustained assistance or protection.

'The humanitarian needs inside the country remain critical but have recently worsened due to drought, floods and conflict' highlighted Mr. Laroche who urged that there must continue to be strong support for the Somali people, independent of political dynamics.' He went on to say that 'the work and efforts of humanitarian organizations play a vital role in providing life-saving activities. A generous response from the international donor community will ensure an integrated approach by humanitarian organizations in meeting needs - as well as strengthening the capacity of Somalia's most vulnerable communities'.

Somalia's people live in extremely poor and underdeveloped conditions. Livelihoods are broadly based on subsistence farming and pastoralism with limited opportunity to earn wages. Infant, child and maternal mortality rates are amongst the highest in the world. One in four children dies before reaching the age of five. About 1,600 women die for every 100,000 live births. Somalia has one of the lowest primary school enrolment rates in the world. The average life expectancy in Somalia is estimated at 48 years.

With 1.4 people in severe livelihood distress, the Humanitarian Appeal seeks to address the food security needs of the chronically food insecure by enabling the resumption of livelihoods and restoration of productive assets, disrupted by insecurity or natural disasters such as drought and floods. The Appeal also aims to increase food availability to groups who are chronically food insecure such as IDPs, women, returnees and people living with HIV/AIDS. It is also focused on improving access to education, especially for girls and to rectify the underlying cause of child morbidity in the country by improving and increasing access to safe drinking water.

The 2007 Appeal is being launched at a time when Somalia faces widespread flooding that has already affected an estimated 454,500 people. 'To make things worse, Somalia now faces the possibility of war', warns Laroche. 'The international community must do what it can to avert such a scenario and to preserve a 'humanitarian space' respecting the human dignity of Somalis by ensuring access to the most needed basic services.'

Total needs for the flood response amount to around US$ 28.6 million, of which around US$ 10.4 million has already been sourced through the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF). A Flood Response Plan appealing for the remaining US$ 18.2 million was put to donors on 6 December in Geneva.

For more information please contact: Amanda Di Lorenzo, or Rita Maingi - OCHA Somalia Tel: (+254) 020 3754150-5, Email: dilorenzoa@un.org, maingir@un.org

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:
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