UN, Somalia seek 1.09 bln USD in aid for 4 mln people

The United Nations and Somalia are seeking 1.09 billion U.S. dollars to aid 4 million people in the country, said the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in a release on Monday.

Multiple crises, including erratic climate shocks, protracted conflict, disease outbreaks and a massive desert locust infestation, have driven millions of children, women and men in Somalia to the brink of survival, said Adam Abdelmoula, the humanitarian coordinator for Somalia, at the launch of the country’s humanitarian response plan.

The humanitarian situation in Somalia worsened in 2020, compounded by the triple threat of floods, COVID-19 and desert locusts. In 2021, the country is projected to face more significant humanitarian challenges, said OCHA.

Drought conditions are predicted due to the likely below-average rainfall associated with La Nina. And the country will have to handle the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on the economy. The humanitarian response plan estimates that 5.9 million people will need humanitarian assistance this year, an increase from 5.2 million last year, it said.

Despite enormous operational and access challenges, humanitarian partners reached 2.3 million people out of 3 million targeted in 2020, thanks to the generosity of donors and the dedication of national and international aid workers, said OCHA.

The UN population estimate for Somalia is about 16 million people.