UN Humanitarian Chief Urges Donors Not to Forget Somalia

Donors are hesitant to support humanitarian efforts in Somalia due to fears that aid money will be diverted to Islamist rebels, Valerie Amos, United Nations undersecretary general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator, said.

The World Food Program last year suspended its aid to Somalia after a local contractor was found to be a Somali businessman linked to Al Shabaab, which has ties to al-Qaida.

“The world must not forget Somalia,” Amos told a press conference in Kenya after visiting Somalia. “My big concern is that instability in the political process will lead to enhanced conflict and will therefore lead to enhanced humanitarian need.”

Somalia faces its worst drought in five years, as well as potential conflict as the government’s mandate is due to expire later this year, Reuters reports.

Donors are also looking for long-term solutions for Somalia, Amos said.

“Donors want us to be able to shift from constantly focusing on humanitarian action, which by its very nature is very short-term, and moving to a situation where you are able to promote longer-term development and sustainability – and in a conflict situation as exists in Somalia this is very difficult to do,” she said.

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About the author

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    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.