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CERF approves $22 million loan to further scale up FAO action to prevent famine in Somalia (21.03.2017)

The funds will allow for increased livelihoods support to rural communities affected by repeated drought.

ROME, Italy, March 21, 2017 -FAO is further scaling up its  activities in drought affected regions of Somalia thanks to a $22 million loan approved this week by the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), which complements the loans already provided by FAO’s Special Fund for Emergency and Rehabilitation Activities.

This effort is part of the international response to prevent another famine in Somalia five years after the previous one devastated the country. FAO’s action aims to increase rural livelihood support and restore food production, while ensuring that families meet their immediate food and water needs.

Across Somalia, 6.2 million people will face acute food insecurity through June 2017. Of these, nearly 3 million people are in Phases 3 (crisis) and 4 (emergency) of the five-phase International Phase Classification for Food Security (IPC). This represents more than a two-fold  increase compared to six months ago. Phase 5 is famine.

The head of the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Under-Secretary-General and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Stephen O’Brien, said he was releasing the loan from CERF to FAO “as part of the efforts to avert a humanitarian catastrophe in Somalia.”

“More than 2.9 million people are at risk of famine and many will predictably die from hunger if we do not act now. CERF is one of the fastest ways to enable urgent response to people most in need. FAO is a key partner in ensuring that crucial support to livelihoods is reaching affected people. The loan will bridge a crucial gap and allow FAO to immediately save lives and livelihoods of farmers and herders until additional funds from donors are received,” O’Brien said.

“CERF has long been a supporter of FAO’s interventions to save and protect livelihoods and thus lives in crisis contexts. Livelihoods are people’s best defence against famine and this $22 million loan is critical to FAO’s famine prevention and drought response in Somalia, enabling the Organization to provide much-needed, rapid support to vulnerable rural households,” said FAO Deputy Director-General for Programmes, Daniel Gustafson.

Saving livelihoods, saving lives

Most of the 6.2 million people facing  acute food insecurity live in Somalia’s  rural areas where hunger levels have spiked primarily due to losses in crop and livestock production and other sources of food and income caused by repeated droughts.

Early warnings are loud and clear: In a worst-case scenario where the traditionally, main rainy season, the  Gu (April-June), will perform very poorly, purchasing power may further decline to levels seen in 2010/2011, and humanitarian assistance would not be able to reach populations in need, people may  suffer/face famine.

FAO’s work

FAO is scaling up the implementation of its Famine Prevention and Drought Response Plan, which combines lifesaving interventions with emergency livelihood support to address the distinct needs of rural people at risk across Somalia – a twin track approach that provides immediate assistance while offering livelihood support and income opportunities to reduce their dependency on humanitarian aid.

Measures implemented under the Response Plan include providing cash (cash-for-work and unconditional cash transfers), meeting immediate food and water needs; providing agriculture and fisheries based livelihood support in combination with cash (“Cash+”), and saving livestock assets and related food and income.

The loan from CERF complements FAO’s own funding mechanism, the Special Fund for Emergency and Rehabilitation Activities, and will help kick start operations supported by the Governments of the United States of America and the United Kingdom.

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Statement of IGAD Council of Ministers’ Consultation on the Current Situation in the Region (17.03.2017)

World Bank Group President Calls for Urgent Action on Hunger Crisis (08.03.2017)

WASHINGTON, March 8, 2017—World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim today issued the following statement on the devastating levels of food insecurity in sub-Saharan Africa and Yemen:

“Famine is a stain on our collective conscience. Millions of lives are at risk and more will die if we do not act quickly and decisively.

We at the World Bank Group stand in solidarity with the people now threatened by famine. We are mobilizing an immediate response for Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, and Yemen. Our first priority is to work with partners to make sure that families have access to food and water. We are working toward a financial package of more than $1.6 billion to build social protection systems, strengthen community resilience, and maintain service delivery to the most vulnerable. This includes existing operations of over $870 million that will help communities threatened by famine. I am also working with our Board of Directors to secure the approval of new operations amounting to $770 million, funded substantially through IDA’s Crisis Response Window.

The World Bank Group will help respond to the immediate needs of the current famine, but we must recognize that famine will have lasting impacts on people’s health, ability to learn, and earn a living. So we will also continue to work with communities to reclaim their livelihoods and build resilience to future shocks.

We are coordinating closely with the UN and other partners in all areas of our response. We know that resolution to this acute crisis will not be possible without all humanitarian and development actors working together. We call on the international community to respond robustly and quickly to the UN global appeal for resources for the famine.

To prevent crises in the future, we must invest in addressing the root causes and drivers of fragility today and help countries build institutional and societal resilience.”

Background

A famine means that a significant part of the population has no access to basic food, suffers from severe malnutrition, and death from hunger reaches unprecedented levels. Children under five are disproportionately affected. A famine can affect the well-being of a whole generation. Famine was officially declared on February 20 in South Sudan, impacting approximately 100,000 people, and there is a credible risk of other famines in Yemen, Northeast Nigeria, and other countries. Ongoing conflicts and civil insecurity are further intensifying the food insecurity of millions of people across the region, and there is already widespread displacement and other cross-border spillovers. For instance, food insecurity in Somalia and famine in South Sudan are accelerating the flow of refugees into Ethiopia and Uganda. The UN estimates that about 20 million people in Nigeria, South Sudan, Somalia and Yemen are on the “tipping point” of famine. Drought conditions also extend to Uganda and parts of Tanzania. The last famine was declared in 2011 in Somalia during which 260,000 people died.

Somalia: Declaration of National Disaster (28.02.2017)

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The president has appealed to the International Community to urgently respond to the calamity in order to help families and individuals to recover from the effects of the drought disaster to avoid humanitarian tragedy.

MOGADISHU, Somalia, February 28, 2017 -The President of the Federal Republic of Somalia, His Excellency Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed (Farmajo) has declared a National Disaster to deal with the humanitarian emergency in all areas affected by the current drought.

The president has appealed to the International Community to urgently respond to the calamity in order to help families and individuals to recover from the effects of the drought disaster to avoid humanitarian tragedy.

The president is also kindly calling on the Somali business community and Diaspora to participate in the recovery operations efforts in the affected area with the aim to mitigate the impact of drought nationwide.

The president stands ready to receive a continuous briefing on the assessment and response to the emergency.

Somalia: Drought Emergency Response (27.02.2017)

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Statement by the IGAD Executive Secretary on the current drought in the Greater Horn of Africa (08.02.2017)

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The Drought Situation

The Horn of Africa is in the midst of a major drought resulting from La Niña and reduced moisture influx due to the cooling of the ocean water in the east African coast. Whilst Member States of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) are adept at managing droughts, what makes the current drought alarming in the Equatorial Greater Horn of Africa (GHA) region is that it follows two consecutive poor rainfall seasons in 2016 and the likelihood of depressed rainfall persisting into the March – May 2017 rainfall season remains high. The most affected areas include, most of Somalia, South-eastern Ethiopia, Northern Eastern and coastal Kenya, and Northern Uganda.

The climate predictions and early warnings produced by IGAD through advanced scientific modeling and prediction tools, which were provided to Member States and the general public, have elicited early actions (preparedness and mitigation measures). Highly comparable to the 2010 GHA drought, the current depressed rainfall and resultant poor vegetation conditions since March 2016 eroded the coping and adaptive capacities of the affected people. It also depleted water points, reduced crops, forages and livestock production, increased food insecurity, and adversely affected the livelihoods of vulnerable communities in the region.

The number of food insecure human population in the region is currently estimated at 17 million. Certain areas in South Sudan and Djibouti are already under an emergency food insecurity phase, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) classification scale. In Somalia, the number of food insecure people doubled in the last year alone.

In the drought affected cropping lands (over Deyr area in Somalia and coastal Kenya), 70 to 100 percent crop failure has been registered. Livestock mortality has been particularly devastating amongst small ruminants with mortality rate ranging from 25 to 75 percent in the cross border areas of Somalia-Kenya-Ethiopia. In addition, livestock prices have dropped by as much as 700 percent.

Terms of trade have declined in the region, with Ethiopia registering a figure of almost 10 percent. This is exacerbated by a substantial negative impact on external balances, as well as a small impact on financial sector-soundness in the other countries. The overall impact on fiscal positions is a likely increase in current budget spending and deterioration in the fiscal balance and weak adaptation capacity.

Despite the downtrend in global agriculture commodity prices, the drought has resulted in an increase in domestic food prices in the region. Cereal prices (e.g. maize) have gone up by about 130 percent, while those of critical food items such as oils, beans and wheat flour increased by at least 50 percent in some pastoralist areas. The limited financial and institutional capacity for effective adaptation to reduce exposure and vulnerability will result in limited safety net to the most vulnerable households.

Drought Response in the Horn of Africa

With the early warning and technical assistance provided by IGAD, Member States have initiated early action to mitigate the adverse impact of the current drought.

Somalia and South Sudan have declared drought emergencies. Kenya announced a doubling of expenditure on food relief to ease the pressure in the drought-affected counties, while Uganda shifted some of its development resources to finance emergency response in order to address food insecurity and livelihood protection. In Somalia, the President of the Federal Republic, as well as state and regional administrations led the issuance of appeals for support and coordinated actors and efforts that scaled-up food security activities to respond to the humanitarian needs of the country.

The USD 730 million allocated by the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia boosted the response effort which, coupled by an above-average meher harvest, resulted to an almost 50 percent reduction in the number of food insecure people, for example, from 10.2 million to 5.6 million.

IGAD continues to reinforce the actions of its Member States using them as guide for complementary action on drought responses. Below are some of the major actions being undertaken by the IGAD Secretariat and its specialized institutions to manage the drought in the region:

  • Through its specialized institutions, IGAD continues to monitor and provide analysis of the evolving situation and advise Member States and the general public on measures to mitigate its impact. The 45th Greater Horn of Africa Climate Outlook Forum (GHACOF 45), which ends today in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, will present the consensus climate outlook for the next season (March – May 2017) and its likely impact on disaster risk management, livestock production, water, energy and health etc.
  • A multi- humanitarian coordination mechanism led by IGAD that includes UN agencies, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), and other Non-State Actors (NSAs) is effectively working to coordinate the response effort, as well as guide the recovery process once the situation stabilizes.
  • IGAD is also working with relevant national authorities, UN agencies and CSOs in each member state on the development of an Integrated Regional Appeal that will articulate the priority initiatives within the response plan for each Member State.
  • Furthermore, IGAD will support institutional arrangements and capacity building that needs to be in place to allow humanitarian response plans to be implemented in timely, effective manner.
  • A regional Ministerial Meeting will be convened by IGAD at the end of this month to launch the Integrated Regional Appeal and secure financial resources, which further complements the response undertaken by national authorities and humanitarian and development partners, while at the same time building resilience to climate-induced disasters.

Through the IGAD Drought Disaster Resilience and Sustainability Initiative (IDDRSI) Platform, the ultimate purpose and objective of IGAD and its Member States is to mitigate the adverse effects of disasters through building resilience of relevant national institutions, communities and people, to end drought emergencies and contribute to the achievement of sustainable development in the region.

In this regard, IGAD will remain vigilant in monitoring and advising the people of the region on the drought situation through its’ specialized institution, the IGAD Climate Prediction and Application Centre (ICPAC) domiciled in Nairobi, and shall continue to support and complement regional and national actions on drought response and recovery.

Somalia: Humanitarian Coordinator Warns of Possible Famine (03.02.2017)

Somalia Draught Quotes

Somalia is in the grip of an intense drought, induced by two consecutive seasons of poor rainfall.

MOGADISHU, Somalia, February 3, 2017 – The Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, Peter de Clercq, warned today that unless a massive and urgent scale up of humanitarian assistance takes place in the coming weeks, famine could soon be a reality in some of the worst drought-affected areas in Somalia. During the launch of the latest food security and nutrition data in Mogadishu, he called for urgent efforts to avert famine.

Somalia is in the grip of an intense drought, induced by two consecutive seasons of poor rainfall. In the worst affected areas, inadequate rainfall and lack of water has wiped out crops and killed livestock, while communities are being forced to sell their assets, and borrow food and money to survive.

“This is the time to act to prevent another famine in Somalia. Building on the response to drought in 2016, we need to rapidly step up the humanitarian response to effectively respond to the extensive needs and avert a famine,” said Peter de Clercq. “If we do not scale up the drought response immediately, it will cost lives, further destroy livelihoods, and could undermine the pursuit of key State-building and peacebuilding initiatives. A drought – even one this severe – does not automatically have to mean catastrophe if we can respond early enough with timely support from the international community.”

According to the FAO-managed Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU) and the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET), the number of people in need of assistance has increased from five million in September to over 6.2 million now, more than half of the country’s population. This includes a drastic increase in the number of people in “crisis” and “emergency” from 1.1 million six months ago to a projected 3 million between February and June this year. The situation for children is especially grave. Some 363,000 acutely malnourished children are in need of critical nutrition support, including life-saving treatment for more than 71,000 severely malnourished children.

The levels of suffering in the country, triggered by protracted conflict, seasonal shocks and disease outbreaks, are typically hard to bear, but the impact of this drought represents a threat of a different scale and magnitude. “The situation we are starting to see today in many rural areas today, particularly Bay, Puntland, is starting to look worryingly like the run-up to famine in 2010-2011. Most striking is the pace, scale and geography of deterioration, and the potential for the situation to become much much worse,” said Richard Trenchard, the Food and Agriculture Organization Representative for Somalia. “Labour prices are collapsing; local food prices are rising; food availability is becoming patchy; animal deaths are increasing; and malnutrition rates are rising, especially among children. Together, these are all signs that we are entering a phase that can lead to catastrophe.”

Somalia experienced the worst famine of the twenty-first century in 2011, affecting an estimated four million people, three-quarters of a million of whom faced famine conditions. The famine resulted in the loss of more than a quarter a million lives.

Somalia: Somali Parliament Speaker Jawari nominated Integrity Commission for President election consists 9 persons included Fadumo Dayib who is a resigned candidate (29.01.2017)

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Somalia: Press Statement on the Drought Appeal (20.01.2017)

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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.

Somalia: Humanitarians launch US$864 million appeal to reach 3.9 million People (17.01.2017)

 

Somalia Draught Quotes

The Humanitarian Response Plan for Somalia for 2017 plan was launched today in Mogadishu with calls to the international community for timely support to help bolster humanitarian operations and meet urgent humanitarian needs.

MOGADISHU, Somalia, January 17, 2017 -The humanitarian community in Somalia is seeking US$864 million to reach 3.9 million people with urgent life-saving humanitarian assistance. The Humanitarian Response Plan for Somalia for 2017 plan was launched today in Mogadishu with calls to the international community for timely support to help bolster humanitarian operations and meet urgent humanitarian needs.

“The humanitarian situation remains grim for millions of Somalis. We are faced with a slight but steady increase in the number of people in need, and most recently with a significant risk of further deterioration to famine,” said Peter de Clercq, the Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia.

The launch of the HRP comes against a backdrop of a worsening humanitarian situation in Somalia. Expanding drought conditions have left hundreds of thousands of Somalis facing severe food and water shortages. Overall, some 5 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance. About 320,000 children under the age of 5 years are acutely malnourished and in need of urgent nutrition support. Of these, 50,000 children are severely malnourished and far more vulnerable than any other group.

Protection violations remain at the centre of the humanitarian crisis in Somalia and widespread human rights violations, instability and insecurity drive displacement and weaken the resilience of the most vulnerable. At least 1.1 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) and other vulnerable people are exposed to protection risks. Some 3.3 million people lack access to emergency health services and require improved access to water, sanitation and hygiene. Giving birth is one of the greatest risks to a Somali woman’s life. The maternal mortality ratio for Somalia is among the highest in the world at 732 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births. Around 3 million school-age children are still out of school with numbers increasing and placing children at greater risk as the impacts of shocks deepen.

“Immediate support is required to prevent a significant deterioration of the humanitarian situation. Given the early warning provided by the humanitarian community and the Federal Government on the drought situation, early action is the only way to demonstrate that we have learnt the lessons from the past to avert another catastrophe,” added de Clercq.

The response plan seeks to strengthen emergency response preparedness measures, in collaboration with federal and local authorities, to mitigate the impact of predictable shocks and continue to build stronger linkages between life-saving and development-based durable solutions. It provides an opportunity for humanitarian and development actors to strengthen collaboration in addressing both life-saving and long term durable solutions to address underlying causes of vulnerability.

The 2017 plan is part of a three-year strategy (2016-2018), which recognizes that the drivers of risk and vulnerability in Somalia are largely cyclical and long-running, and cannot be resolved in a single year. Enhancing communities’ ability to cope with shocks through the long-term sustainable livelihood support and basic services, including durable solutions, in a community-based approach, will be vital in addressing underlying causes of vulnerabilities.

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