Mogadishu, 10 May 2017: On the eve of the London Somalia Conference, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres called today for further scale-up of the humanitarian response in Somalia and strengthening of the partnership between the international community, the Federal Government of Somalia and humanitarian partners to avert famine.
Somalia is facing prolonged drought which has left 6.7 million people — more than half the population of the country – in need of humanitarian assistance. The situation continues to deteriorate and the possibility of famine in 2017 remains very real, despite an already massive scale-up of assistance since the beginning of the year. Over 680,000 people have been displaced due to drought in Somalia since November 2016, bringing the total number to 1.8 million. Major disease outbreaks are spreading, with over 36,000 cases of AWD/Cholera and 7,000 cases of suspected measles so far this year. Acute malnutrition is increasing in most parts of the country.
“Since my visit to Baidoa in March, authorities and humanitarian partners have worked together to make extraordinary strides to rapidly reach millions of vulnerable Somalis with water, food and critical health and nutrition services,” Mr. Guterres said.
“Thanks to early generous funding provided by countries across the globe, we have managed to avert a famine so far. But the level of suffering is unimaginable and we fear the worst.” The revised humanitarian response plan to prevent famine in Somalia will be presented to international partners at the London Somalia Conference tomorrow. The revised plan seeks US$1.5 billion to reach 5.5 million people with life-saving assistance in 2017. In response to the early alarm that Somalia is at risk of famine, donors have generously provided $672 million since the beginning of the year, leaving a gap of $875 million.
With the resources received thus far, there has been a massive scale-up of the response and millions of people at risk of starvation and disease are being reached with assistance and protection. Further funding is still required to reach millions of people in urgent need of assistance as the current rainy season is expected to produce below-normal rainfalls, necessitating a sustain response through December.
The London Somalia Conference is hosted by the United Kingdom and convenes international partners to accelerate progress on security sector reform, build on the international response to the ongoing drought and humanitarian crisis and agree the new international partnership needed to keep Somalia on course for increased peace and prosperity.
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