United Kingdom announces new humanitarian assistance for Somalia
Mogadishu - The United Kingdom has announced an additional aid package of 60 million British pounds (about $77 million) to Somalia to help tackle the current humanitarian crisis caused by the prolonged drought.
The announcement was made yesterday by the United Kingdom Secretary of State for International Development, Priti Patel, who visited Somalia to assess the drought situation that has forced hundreds of thousands of residents to abandon their homes in search of food and shelter.
“I have today announced that we’ll give another 60 million pounds to Somalia for the collective efforts here in terms of the humanitarian support Somalia needs,” Ms. Patel said.
The Secretary of State noted the latest assistance was in addition to the 100 million pounds of aid disbursed by Britain to Somalia since her last visit earlier this year.
“A lot has happened over the last six months. I went back to London and announced 100 million pounds of UK aid that have come to Somalia for famine prevention, for the drought issue,” observed Ms. Patel, adding that the UK had also used its leadership to persuade other governments in the world to step up efforts on behalf of drought victims.
Speaking at the United Nations Drought Operations Coordination Centre in Mogadishu, the Permanent Secretary of the federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, Mohamed Moalim, expressed the country’s gratitude to the UK and other donors for their continuous support.
“It is now well known that this drought actually has very similar characteristics to the one in 2011, and the difference now is the timely responses and the interventions made by everybody. We’re very grateful to our international partners, to the UN and of course to our donors like yourselves,” said Mr. Moalim.
The Permanent Secretary noted the Somali government has adopted new policies that give priority to humanitarian and emergency assistance even as the country pursues its development agenda.
The UK Secretary of State later handed over relief food for malnourished Somali children to United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) officials at an airport hangar in Mogadishu.
“These are supplies that will be going out today to those children across Somalia in the drought-affected areas who are suffering from terrible malnutrition because of the drought,” Ms. Patel noted.
Receiving the relief food on behalf of UNICEF, the head of the agency’s Mogadishu office, Eltayeb Adam, said that tens of thousands of children have received assistance since the drought started ravaging the country.
“With these life-saving supplies, we’ve managed to treat 85,000 children so far since the beginning of January this year, and that has contributed to a major significant saving of children’s lives in Somalia and that’s part of the response to the severe drought in Somalia,” Mr. Adam added.
During the one-day visit, Ms. Patel also held discussions with the Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, Peter de Clercq, his deputy Vincent Lelei and other humanitarian officials. She was accompanied by the British Ambassador to Somalia, David Concar.