Amid Growing Humanitarian Crisis, Somalia Appeals for Drought Aid

The Somali government is seeking international aid as the African nation reels from drought, which a Somali official described as his country’s worst humanitarian crisis since the famine in the early 1990s.

Unless aid is provided to drought-hit communities, there could be “staggering death toll,” Somalia’s ambassador to Kenya, Mohamed Ali Nur, warned Tuesday (April 5).

Nur said the south-central regions are hit hardest by the drought, which is affecting the entire country, The Associated Press reports.

Nur’s appeal follows a call by Somali Prime Minister Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed for United Nations agencies to relocate their offices to Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, from Kenya within 90 days.

Most aid groups working in Somalia are based in Kenya to help avoid Somali kidnapping and fighting, Reuters reports.

“Somalia is not worse than Iraq and Afghanistan … We need you to stay with us and share with us the difficulties on the ground so as to cope with the situation truly and jointly,” Mohamed said on Monday. “Being in Nairobi and spending millions of dollars (there) is not in the interest of Somali people,”

The United Nations has yet to respond to Mohamed’s request.

Meantime, World Food Program Executive Director Josette Sheeran has assured donors that foreign food aid to Somalia is making a difference.

“We are grateful for all the support from our donors, especially at a time when the Somali people are growing weaker because of drought and violence and needs are rising daily,” Sheeran, who visited Somalia April 4-5, said. “Make no mistake, your assistance is saving lives and bringing malnourished children back to health.” 

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About the author

  • Ma. Rizza Leonzon

    As a former staff writer, Rizza focused mainly on business coverage, including key donors such as the Asian Development Bank and AusAID.