President Farmaajo visits Baidoa to assess impact of drought
Baidoa, 23 April 2017 - Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo today visited the capital of South West state to assess the effects of drought on the federal member state that has been hardest hit by the crisis.
It marked the first trip of President Farmaajo outside Mogadishu since he took office last February.
President Farmaajo and his delegation were received at Baidoa’s Shaati Gaduud airport by the President of South West state, Sharif Hassan Sheikh Adan, and other top regional administration officials. The two leaders held discussions at the Presidential Palace in Baidoa, which focused on drought response and the security situation in the country.
“I would like to tell you why I came here today. First is to share with you the pain you are experiencing because of drought. There are ministers accompanying me on this trip, two of them have come here twice, that shows the commitment of the government to tackle the recurring drought in the region,” President Farmaajo told reporters after the meeting.
The federal president once again asked youths to take advantage of the amnesty he issued recently and lay down their weapons, saying the government was ready to help them rehabilitate and reintegrate into the community.
“We declared recently that the country is in a state of war. People should collaborate with the government in order to defeat this terror group. We gave the youths who have been brain-washed two months to surrender to the government so as to be given education, employment and also be rehabilitated in order to protect the people and gain the confidence of the international community,” the President noted.
He emphasized the government’s commitment to build a trained, disciplined and well equipped national army that can take over full responsibility for the security of the country.
Earlier this month, federal and state government leaders agreed on key points of a new national security architecture aimed at strengthening the country’s security institutions. Among the measures adopted are increases in the numbers of security force personnel and greater collaboration between federal and state security agencies.
South West President Sharif Hassan thanked the delegation for visiting the state. He urged the federal government to help open main supply routes, noting that the inaccessibility of remote rural areas was hindering the efforts of humanitarian aid agencies to deliver urgently needed assistance to vulnerable populations.
“There is a severe drought here. People became vulnerable to the drought due to sanctions imposed by the militants. People cannot move freely nor can they help one another,” he added.
Somalia is one of the countries worst affected by drought, which has already claimed hundreds of lives and left hundreds of thousands of people without a source of livelihood. The United Nations has warned that the situation might deteriorate into famine if urgent measures are not taken swiftly to scale up humanitarian support to 6.2 million people in need of food and health care.