“Don't Forget Somalia”: Advocacy at the UN from a Country on the Edge of Famine
A mother with her severely malnourished child.
“Remember Somalia! : Somalia's special envoy Abdirahman Abdishakur tried to draw attention this week at the UN to the “scale of the crisis” hitting his country on the brink of famine to mobilize more aid from the international community.
We are here to put pressure, to draw your attention to the scale of the crisis, to the level of the humanitarian disaster in Somalia, the Somali President's special envoy said in an interview with AFP.
From meeting to meeting with UN agencies and UN member states since the beginning of the week, he has carried the same message: There is still a huge gap between the humanitarian aid promised and the needs. from a country that has suffered four seasons of poor rains since 2020.
Currently, just over 60% of the $1.4 billion needed to fund the humanitarian plan for Somalia have been promised. And as a failed fifth rainy season is forecast for the fall, the needs will increase further.
If the rain does not come and the humanitarian response is not sufficient, famine will occur, warned Abdirahman Abdishakur.
I know there is some competition on the international stage for priorities, with Ukraine, the ongoing impact of COVID-19, the energy crisis, but that does not mean that the Horn of Africa and Somalia should be forgotten, he insisted.
Do not forget Somalia, especially the drought which risks turning into famine, he hammered, stressing that the situation was similar to that of 2011, when the famine had killed more than 250,000 people.
The head of the UN humanitarian agency Martin Griffiths indicated in early September that due to this historic drought, the country was on the verge of starvation.
We have a tiny window to save lives, he repeated this week alongside Abdirahman Abdishakur at UN headquarters in New York . Even if famine has not yet been declared, people are dying today, he insisted.
And children are on the front line: According to the latest UNICEF figures released on Tuesday, the number of children aged 6 months to 5 years suffering from malnutrition increased from 386,000 to 513,000.
With famine and drought, we will not only lose lives, but also the gains of recent years in development and poverty reduction, insisted Abdirahman Abdishakur.