The United Nations on Tuesday (December 4th) launched its annual humanitarian appeal for Somalia in Mogadishu for the first time for two decades.
This year the appeal is for US$1.3 billion to address the immediate needs of the Somali people over the next year and enhance resilience in the country. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the appeal is part of the UN's three-year strategy for 2013-2015. It covers a total of 369 humanitarian projects targeting 3.8 million Somalis in need. The UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, Stefano Porretti, presenting the appeal said the humanitarian situation in Somalia "remains critical", but the improvement in the food security situation and the new security and political landscape "presented opportunities to break the cycle of recurring crises brought on by drought and conflict". He noted that it was possible to prevent any possible future shocks in Somalia from developing into a humanitarian catastrophe "by strengthening Somalis' ability to cope with droughts and floods".
He said the road to resilience in Somalia would be long and difficult, and there was "an absolute imperative to continue supporting humanitarian work in Somalia". He said the new three-year humanitarian appeal allowed for greater continuity in programming and aimed at responding to the existing emergency needs of the population in crisis "in a sustainable manner". The implementation of the strategy will be carried out by a total of 177 national and international non-governmental organizations and UN agencies operating in Somalia.
Somalia's Minister of Interior and National Security Abdikarim Hussein Guled, who also has responsibility for humanitarian affairs, said the appeal was a humanitarian event, not a political one. He referred to the occasion as the first humanitarian gathering in Mogadishu for over 20 years and added that the government and the people were "happy that the humanitarian community is presenting the strategy to us on our home soil". OCHA announced that the 2012 humanitarian appeal for Somalia had so far been 57 per cent funded, with over US$668 million provided out of US$1.1 billion requested.