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Joint UN mission to sound alarm on humanitarian crisis in Somalia

by Laacib

(New York/Rome) With nearly 7 million people in Somalia – or two out of every five people – in need of life-saving assistance in Somalia this year, and 1.7 million children likely to suffer from acute malnutrition, the deputy heads of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) arrived in the country today to urge continued global support for Somalis suffering the effects of hunger, conflict and climate change.

While in Somalia, the OCHA Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator, Joyce Msuya, and FAO Deputy Director-General, Beth Bechdol, will meet people on the frontlines of the climate crisis – as well as Government officials, donor partners, and aid workers looking to scale up response efforts.

Somalia started 2023 by continuing to experience the worst drought in decades, while ending the year with once-in-a-lifetime heavy flooding brought on by El Niño and a positive Indian Ocean Dipole phenomenon. The climate crisis continues to drive humanitarian needs in a country that has endured decades of conflict, with one in five Somalis still facing high levels of acute food insecurity.

“We have to equip farmers, and communities to prepare for, and respond to, these crises and to recover quickly from them – we have to help them build resilience,” said Ms. Bechdol. “We know these approaches can work, especially when we empower women.”

Ms. Msuya and Ms. Bechdol will also underscore the importance of prioritizing and empowering women affected by Somalia’s humanitarian crisis. They will celebrate International Women’s Day on 8 March alongside Somali women – including farmers – who have been displaced by recurrent climate shocks, conflict and insecurity.

“The women of Somalia have withstood a cascade of crises that are not of their making,” Ms. Msuya said. “The international community must honour their resilience with decisive action to help them recover and rebuild.”

The three-day mission is expected to conclude with a joint press conference in Mogadishu.


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