Tuesday, March 21, 2006

SOMALIA: Revised humanitarian appeal launched

Via: IRIN
NAIROBI, 21 Mar 2006 (IRIN) -
"Aid agencies have launched a revised appeal for US $326.7 million to avert a humanitarian disaster in drought-stricken Somalia, where some 2.1 million people are threatened with starvation following several successive seasons of failed rains.

"This current drought is unprecedented in 10 years, and the impact it is having on food, water, health, education and livelihoods is alarming," said Christian Balslev-Olesen, the United Nations acting humanitarian coordinator for Somalia, during the launch of the revised Consolidated Appeal Process (CAP) on Tuesday.

"Humanitarian agencies had asked for $174 million in December 2005 to help drought-affected people in Somalia. As of 20 March, donors had committed $79,703,293 million - about 25 percent of the funds required to sustain humanitarian operations in Somalia until the end of 2006. Almost 83 percent of the increase in funding requirements is due to additional food needs, according to the appeal statement prepared by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)."

"What we need is sustained, consistent effort," said Philippe Lazzarini, the head of OCHA-Somalia. The projections for the next gu (long) rains are below normal, he said.Failure to provide timely assistance could increase the needy population and deepen the humanitarian crisis to a generalised famine situation, according to OCHA.

"This may serve to undermine the political process and the ongoing, local reconciliation initiatives," the agency added. General food distributions needed to be stepped up to avoid deaths by starvation, which could occur "in a matter of months" if aid was delayed, Balslev-Olesen said."

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