Malnutrition rates are “stubbornly high” in Somalia with more than 200,000 children requiring emergency nutrition, the top United Nations humanitarian official in the African nation said today as he projected a “worrisome” outlook for 2015.
The UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, Philippe Lazzarini, said in a statement issued in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, that about 730,000 Somalis face acute food insecurity, the vast majority internally displaced people (IDPs), while another 2.3 million people are at risk of sliding into the same situation.
“This brings the number of people in need of humanitarian and livelihood support to 3 million,” he explained, reacting to new assessment findings released today by the Food Security and Analysis Unit, managed by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and the Famine Early Warning Systems Network.
He noted that there had been improvements in some parts of the country, but the southern and central regions continue to be the epicentre of the crisis.
“Malnutrition rates remain stubbornly high with nearly 203,000 acutely malnourished children requiring emergency nutrition” mainly due to lack of access to clean water, sanitation infrastructure and better hygiene, Mr. Lazzarini said. “About 38,000 children are severely malnourished and need life-saving medical treatment and therapeutic food.”
Valuable support from donors has allowed for a timely scale-up of humanitarian emergency response and the worst impact of the crisis has been mitigated, especially in the second half of 2014, but he underscored that available funding is not commensurate to the needs.
In 2015, the Humanitarian Response Plan requests $863 million to save lives, improve protection of displaced people and provide durable solutions, and strengthen resilience of communities to withstand shocks.
“It is an essential prerequisite to continue to do everything we can to address the current humanitarian needs to prevent the relapse of a major crisis jeopardizing recent historic peace and state building gains,” the humanitarian coordinator said.
Also on Somalia today, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative, Nicholas Kay, today welcomed the Somali Government’s announcement to nominate a new Federal cabinet.
Mr. Kay stressed that once approved by the Parliament, the Federal Government will need to address Somalia’s state and peacebuilding goals urgently. He added that the UN is committed to support the process.
SOURCE: AFRICA RENEWAL