Somalia: Press Statement on the Drought Appeal (20.01.2017)
It is estimated that the drought is affecting close to 5 million people and they are in need of emergency food, water and medical supplies.
MOGADISHU, Somalia, January 20, 2017 –The President of Somali Federal Republic, H.E. Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, hold a breakfast meeting for the Arab League Ambassadors and representatives in Mogadishu with the National Drought Response Committee, which consists of FGS FMS, Civil Societies. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the drought situation and its implications on the people and their livelihoods.
The Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Interior and Federal Affairs, Dr Yahye Ibrahim, who chairs the committee, briefed the President, the Ambassadors and representatives on the relentless drought and its severity. He informed that this devastating drought did not only affect the livestock and farming which is the livelihood of rural populations but also caused the death of our people due to insufficient rainfall in the last four seasons. It is estimated that the drought is affecting close to 5 million people and they are in need of emergency food, water and medical supplies. Records indicate that this is the worst drought in 25 years if not sixty years.
Shiekh Nur Barud Gurxan, an active committee member and respected Islamic Scholar , reinforces the message of urgency and the dire need for an emergency support to affected communities. He noted that the Arab League has continuously been supportive of the Somali people in its hour of need. We are aware of the calamities in other Arab, brotherly nations of Yemen, Libya and Syria. We wish them, but the Somali drought situation is very critical.
Speaking on behalf of the League of Arab nations. Amb Mohamed Idris welcomed the government’s initiative. He commented on the progress Somali made over the years but at the same time acknowledged the difficult it faces with this biting drought. Ambassador Idris promised that there would be a swift action for the Arab League member states to support the Somali people. He said that they don’t want to see a repeat of the 2010/11/12 drought. He also further said “Rest assured we will mobilise the Arab League member states, and we are here to work with you in your hour of need”.
The President, H.E. Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, thanked the Arab League diplomatic community for attending this breakfast. The President also thanked the Committee for the excellent work they have done so far.
His Excellency, the President, reiterated that this is of the worst droughts for a long time. It hugely affected nomadic communities and those rely on subsistence farming. The vulnerable groups such as the sick, children and the elderly are dying due to hunger. The President told the gathering diplomats and other dignitaries that as a nation “we are trying to organise ourselves, and there is a local mobilisation effort underway to support those severely affected. For example, all government institutions are making financial donations. We are about to start levying extra taxes on certain commodities and services and deductions from the salaries of the civil servents”. Unfortunately, our efforts alone will not be enough. The Arab League Member States had always been supportive of the Somali people.
The President strongly requested the Arab League diplomats to engage the Arab media to inform the Arab masses of the situation of the Somali drought.
The President acknowledges the unwavering support of the International community to the Somali people; further welcoming the recent humanitarian appeal for the Somali drought.
Finally, the President sent an emergency appeal to the League of Arab Nations, Organisation of Islam Countries to positively respond to this drought appeal; your immediate intervention is critical.