‘Humanitarian situation in Somalia remains extremely dire’

The humanitarian situation in Somalia remains extremely dire with almost half of the population requiring assistance in 2022, said James Swan, the top United Nations (UN) envoy for Somalia, on Tuesday.

Somalia is the most severely drought-affected country in the Horn of Africa, with 4.3 million people impacted and more than 270,000 people newly displaced. With the next rains in April likely to be the fourth below-average cycle, Somalia was facing a potential humanitarian catastrophe, he told the Security Council in a briefing. 

While the Somalia humanitarian operation has the know-how to deliver life-saving aid to people in need, it requires adequate resources. Unfortunately, the humanitarian response plan for 2022 is currently only 2 percent funded, he said. 

“While I wish to express profound appreciation to the donor community for its continued commitment to Somalia, I once more call on donors to increase their support for urgent assistance to the most vulnerable Somali people,” he said. While critical, any humanitarian response is not a long-term solution.

The UN family is therefore taking action to strengthen the humanitarian, development, and peace building nexus. To this end, Somali-based UN agencies, funds and programmes continue to pursue a joint approach to address challenges such as water management, durable solutions, fraud and corruption, said Swan, the UN secretary-general’s special representative and head of the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia.

The implementation of the women, peace and security agenda, as well as inclusion of youth remains central to UN work in Somalia, he said.

The United Nations and the government of Somalia jointly launched a new Women, Peace and Protection programme in November 2021. The project aims to promote women’s meaningful participation in peace building processes, particularly within decision-making and leadership roles, he said.

“This is an investment enabling us to implement the women, peace and security agenda at the federal and sub-national levels, as well as to improve critical areas such as protection of women and girls from sexual violence in conflict.” 

On the youth front, the United Nations continued to support the Somali government to integrate youth dimensions to different areas, from electoral participation to local reconciliation and more, he said.

Al-Shabab continues to pose major security threat in Somalia, said Swan. -Xinhua

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