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UN says over million people still face food crisis in Somalia

MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- Over 1.5 million people will face food crisis amid pressing needs in Somalia, despite improvements in food security, according to a United Nations-backed report released in Mogadishu on Sunday.

The joint assessment by the Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit for Somalia (FSNAU), a project managed by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Famine Early Warning Systems Network, calls for urgent humanitarian aid and livelihood support to avert the crisis.

“Over 1.5 million people facing acute food security crisis or worse need urgent humanitarian assistance and livelihood support between now and December 2018,” said the report.

Findings from the seasonal assessment, conducted across Somalia in June and July, warn that in the absence of humanitarian assistance, food security outcomes are expected to deteriorate to emergency in parts of northern Somalia.

However, the FSNAU says the 1.5 million figure represents a significant improvement in the overall food security situation in Somalia compared to the 2.7 million people projected to be in crisis or worse between February and June.

“Through December 2018, an additional 3.1 million people are classified as stressed, which brings the total number of people facing acute food insecurity across Somalia to 4.6 million,” says the report.

The report calls for urgent treatment and nutrition support for about 294,200 acutely malnourished children, including 55,200 severely malnourished, between now and December.

“Integrated support interventions should be sustained to maintain recent improvements as well as prevent further deterioration in the nutrition situation,” says the report.

According to the UN, food security has continued to improve due to average-to-above-average rainfall between April and June that contributed to seasonal improvements to food and income sources and market conditions and the positive impacts of sustained and large-scale humanitarian assistance.

The humanitarian crisis in Somalia remains one of the largest and most complex in the world, and aid agencies say the shortfall in funding jeopardizes efforts to build Somalis’ resilience to shocks. 



UN official calls for sustained aid to Somalis affected by conflict, drought

MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- The UN envoy in Somalia has called on the international community to sustain assistance to people affected by conflict, 2017 drought as well as this year’s devastating floods and cyclone in Somalia.

Justin Brady of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs warned that although the overall food security has improved in Somalia, a significant portion of the population remains food insecure.

“We are on a positive trajectory, but the number of people in need remains high particularly among the rural populations and the urban poor,” said Brady who spoke on behalf of Humanitarian Coordinator Peter de Clercq at the release of the latest food security and nutrition assessment results by FAO’s Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU) in Somalia.

“The repeated humanitarian emergencies have resulted in many communities with little or no means to recover. Predictable multi-year humanitarian and development funding will be extremely critical,” said Brady in a statement issued on Monday.

According to the UN, despite above-average performance of the Gu rains, some 4.6 million people, including 2.5 million children, still require humanitarian assistance.

Of these, 1.5 million are in crisis or emergency. Internally displaced persons (IDPs) are the most vulnerable and in dire need of immediate and long-term assistance.

Brady warned that high malnutrition rates prevail across the country, especially among the highly vulnerable IDP population, noting that the nutrition status of children under age five remains largely unchanged.

An estimated 295,000 children are acutely malnourished, among them 55,000 severely malnourished and in need of urgent life-saving treatment.


United Nations urges leaders to unite to stabilize Somalia

MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- The UN top envoy in Somalia on Monday called on Somali regional leaders to unite to stabilize the Horn of Africa nation.

Michael Keating, the UN secretary-general’s special representative for Somalia, said Mogadishu’s enormous potential will not be realized unless there is stability.

“Success depends upon trust between and collective action by the federal government and Federal Member States,” Keating told a meeting in southern port city of Kismayo that brought together presidents of Puntland, HirShabelle, Galmudug and Southwest states, as well as Jubaland.

He encouraged the state leaders to strengthen cooperation between their governments and the federal authorities.

In a statement issued in Mogadishu, Keating listed the areas in which action was needed to achieve this goal.

They included tangible progress in building security forces that are both capable and trusted, adopting a justice model, clarifying constitutional arrangements and power-sharing arrangements, passing an electoral law, and increasing revenues on the basis of resource- and revenue-sharing agreements.

“Without these, all Somalis stand to lose—with them, everybody wins, including the millions of people who deserve a better quality of life,” the UN envoy said.

He said the meeting of the Council of Inter-state Cooperation (CIC) provided an opportunity to move things forward in the right direction.


Three killed and over ten injured in blast in Mogadishu

MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- At least three Somali soldiers were killed and over ten others were injured on Sunday after a car bomb exploded near the headquarters of Howlwadag district in the Somali capital of Mogadishu, officials said.

Local government spokesman Salah Hassan Omar told reporters at the scene that a suicide car bomb rammed into the district headquarters killing at least three soldiers.

“The blast resulted in the death of three soldiers and injured other civilians,” the spokesman said. The deceased tried to block the vehicle from passing through the entrance of the administrative capital located near the main Bakara market.

The blast has also destroyed the building of the district and nearby school where several children were injured. Witnesses said the blast was huge.

“We heard huge blast at Howlwadag district and learnt that children at school were hurt in the blast,” an eye witness, Ismail Abdulle, told Xinhua.

The militant group al-Shabab has claimed responsibility for the latest attack but did not say the number of the casualties.

Independent sources told Xinhua tht at least six children were wounded in the incident which is the latest in a series of terror incidences in the Horn of African nation.

Pictures from the scene show massive destruction of buildings.


Somalia president in Djibouti to shore up bilateral ties

MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo is in Djibouti for an official visit to shore up bilateral ties between the two countries.

Presidential spokesperson Abdinur Mohamed said President Farmajo who is accompanied by ministers, lawmakers and other senior government officials will hold talks with his host, President Ismail Omar Guelleh, on a wide range of issues including strengthening relations between the two countries.

“Both leaders will discuss further strengthening bilateral ties between our two countries. Somalia and Djibouti share strong brotherly bonds,” said Mohamed.

The visit comes after Djibouti strongly protested at President Farmajo’s recent call for lifting of sanctions and economic restrictions on Eritrea.

Djibouti, which said it was shocked by the Mogadishu’s position on Eritrea, said it is “unacceptable” to see Somalia supporting Eritrea at a time when Asmara is “occupying” Djibouti territory and still denying having Djiboutian prisoners.

The UN Security Council imposed sanctions against Eritrea in 2009 for an alleged tie with Somali extremist groups.

The sanctions were primarily economic and travel ban on targeted military service members and selected officials. Asmara has repeatedly denied any links to the groups.

However, a UN investigation team issued a report in June 2016 declaring there was no conclusive evidence to punish Eritrea for alleged ties with Somalia’s al-Shabab militants.

The Djibouti visit comes after a delegation from Eritrea led by foreign minister Osman Saleh was in Mogadishu this week.


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