Aid agencies seek funds to help hungry Somalis

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Humanitarian agencies working in Somalia on Tuesday launched an appeal to seek 864 million U.S. dollars to reach 3.9 million people with urgent life-saving assistance.

The agencies that also launched the 2017 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) for Somalia called on the international community to timely support humanitarian operations and meet urgent humanitarian needs in Somalia.

UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia Peter de Clercq said urgent support is required to prevent a significant deterioration of the humanitarian situation.

“Given the early warning provided by the humanitarian community and the federal government on the drought situation, early action is the only way to demonstrate that we have learnt the lessons from the past to avert another catastrophe,” de Clercq told journalists in Mogadishu.

The response plan seeks to strengthen emergency response preparedness measures in collaboration with federal and local authorities.

“The humanitarian situation remains grim for millions of Somalis. We are faced with a slight but steady increase in the number of people in need, and most recently with a significant risk of further deterioration to famine,” said de Clercq.

The launch of the HRP came amid a worsening humanitarian situation in the Horn of Africa nation where expanding drought has left hundreds of thousands of Somalis faced with severe food and water shortages.

Overall, some 5 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance. About 320,000 children under five are acutely malnourished and in need of urgent nutrition support.

Statistics show at least 1.1 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) and other vulnerable people are exposed to protection risks. Some 3.3 million people lack access to emergency health services and require improved access to water, sanitation and hygiene.

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