Aid agencies appeal for funding to help Somalia

Nine local aid agencies on Tuesday appealed to the international community to increase humanitarian funding to help more than two million people in Somalia facing acute food shortages due to severe drought.

Women carry jerry cans of water from shallow wells dug from the sand along the Shabelle River bed, which is dry due to drought in Somalia’s Shabelle region.

The agencies warned in a joint statement issued in Mogadishu that failing and intermittent rains are wreaking havoc in Somalia where 2.2 million people are facing extreme hunger and some 5.4 million need humanitarian aid as at the end of May.

“A huge injection of funding is urgently needed to save lives. We know early intervention is the best and most cost-effective way to save lives, particularly for women and children, who are always the most at risk,” Amina Haji, director of Save Somali Women and Children said.

Haji also says the massive spike in people requiring humanitarian assistance shows just how fragile the situation is for millions of Somalis.

The UN says the 2019 Gu rains (April-June) have dismally failed, resulting in a second consecutive below-average rainy season while Somalia is still recovering from the impact of the prolonged 2016-17 drought.

Two failed rains and harsh weather conditions during the dry Jilaal season (January-March) has led to water scarcity, crop failure and an accelerated decline in livestock productivity, according to the UN.

The agencies warned that the situation is dire and is predicted to get worse in coming months, saying a massively scaled-up response is urgently needed to avert the humanitarian crisis.

The agencies said recent weeks saw some intense, short rain in some locales, which although replenishes some water sources, also caused extensive flooding and damage.

“We must collectively step up to the challenge with context-specific, long-term and locally driven solutions to problems facing Somalis,” the organizations said