UK Foreign Secretary makes surprise Somalia visit

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Somalia

UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson is in the Somali capital Mogadishu for a surprise visit amid the deadly drought in the country.

Johnson met with the Somali president Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed who was elected into office last month, though the agenda of the talks is not known yet.

Somalia is one of four nations affected by a deadly drought in the East Africa region, with the United Nations warning that the drought threatens about half of the country’s population.

Britain on Wednesday pledged to match “pound for pound” the first $6.1 million donated by the public to the Disasters Emergency Committee’s new East Africa Crisis Appeal.

After his recent visit to Somalia, U.N. humanitarian chief Stephen O’Brien said 2.9 million people there are at risk of famine and require immediate help “to save or sustain their lives.” He has said close to 1 million children under the age of 5 will be “acutely malnourished” this year.

Current indicators mirror “the tragic picture of 2011 when Somalia last suffered a famine,” the humanitarian chief said. But this time the U.N.’s humanitarian partners have a larger footprint, better controls on resources and a stronger partnership with the new government, he said.

The Somali government has been tweeting some pictures of Johnson with President Farmajo, and says they had a “fruitful” meeting.

Though much is not yet known about the meeting, it is largely believed that the drought situation in the country was in the agenda.

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