The humanitarian crisis in Somalia is worsening, a senior United Nations official told the Security Council, calling for more than $800 million in aid to offset the impact of a severe drought in a country that is already battling insecurity and poverty.
“The humanitarian crisis has deteriorated more rapidly than was originally projected,” the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia, Raisedon Zenenga, told the Council in New York.
He said that people are dying and need protection, particularly women and children, as drought conditions force them to migrate from rural areas to town, and as sexual violence increases in displacement camps.
“The scaled up response by humanitarian agencies has averted a famine in the country thus far, but the crisis is unlikely to abate any time soon. The needs for humanitarian assistance are increasing faster than the pace of response,” said Mr. Zenenga, who is also the deputy of the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia or UNSOM.
At least $669 million has been received or pledged for the effort, leaving a gap of $831 million in the revised 2017 Humanitarian Response Plan.
More than six million people are affected, of whom only about three million have been reached with food rations.
In the longer-term, the country’s structural problems must be addressed and resilience built, so the country can withstand extreme climatic conditions, the senior UN official said.