Somalia calls for urgent humanitarian assistance amid hunger

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Women who fled drought line up to receive food at a camp for displaced persons in the Daynile neighborhood on the outskirts of the Somalian capital Mogadishu.

MOGADISHU, Somalia - Somalia has appealed to the international community to provide urgent life-saving assistance to 5.9 million people who require humanitarian aid in 2021.

Khadija Mohamed Diriye, minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, also decried the humanitarian funding crises faced by Somalia this year, warning that if action is not taken to address this funding gap, the cost could be catastrophic.

"We are hugely concerned that because of the humanitarian funding crisis of 5.9 million Somalis, almost half the population of Somalia, including vulnerable children, women, and men are at risk of losing access to the life-saving and protection services they desperately need," Diriye said in a joint statement issued Saturday.

The statement came after the minister convened an urgent meeting between her ministry and federal member states' ministries for humanitarian affairs and disaster management in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia.

Diriye said the humanitarian situation has been aggravated by a double climate disaster -- drought in some parts of the country and flooding in others -- and the impact of political tensions, COVID-19, and the worst desert locust infestation in years.

She called on the international community and donors to secure urgent additional funds to support the full operationalization of the Somalia 2021 Humanitarian Response Plan and scale-up advocacy and ensure Somalia does not become a forgotten crisis.

Diriye noted the significant progress made in Somalia over the past years and the risk the current climatic shocks pose to the gains made.

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