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Aid agencies say 5 million Somalis face acute food shortages

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BARTAMAHA

MOGADISHU, Dec. 3 (Xinhua) — Some 38 aid agencies have said that at least five million Somalis are facing acute food security crisis due to poor rains in the Horn of Africa nation.

In a joint statement early this week, the agencies include Oxfam, Relief International and World Vision said vegetation conditions have worsened and drought conditions intensified and continued to affect pasture, water, livestock and crops.

“All actors involved need to immediately react to the situation by responding to calls for aid from the humanitarian actors operating in Somalia to ensure that the communities in the affected regions are given lifesaving humanitarian assistance,” it said in a joint statement received in Mogadishu.

The Horn of Africa nation is currently undergoing a drought that has put a severe strain on a large number of livelihoods.

Poor April-June rains coupled with poor October-December rainfall prospects have led to worsening of food insecurity situation and efforts to reduce levels of vulnerabilities continue to be undermined by irregular weather patterns.

According to the FAO-managed Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU) and the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET), more than 1.1 million people cannot meet their daily food requirements, while another 3.9 million Somalis require livelihood support to reduce the risk of sliding into crisis.

According to the agencies, severe drought in semi-autonomous region of Puntland is directly affecting approximately 150,000 people and has displaced an additional 12,000 people, according to an inter-agency assessment conducted in September.

“Food prices have gone up and some have doubled which in retrospect places the vulnerable populations are in dire need. Pastoral households interviewed reported that they trek an average distance of 60 km to access water points for both human and livestock consumption,” the agencies said.

In Somaliland, The FSNAU and the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET) reported in September that 31 percent of the population, or more than one million people, will be in need of humanitarian assistance in Somaliland until the end of 2016. Acute malnutrition has worsened and 248,000 people face acute food security crisis.

An estimated 89 percent of the pastoralists have lost at least one animal, while 77 percent of animal deaths are attributed to the drought.

According to the agencies, while access in Lower and Middle Juba Regions restricts information, satellite-monitored rainfall trends show the regions to be the most worrying in all of Somalia.

Source: XINHUA

Briefing Room

Diplomatic leaks: UAE dissatisfied with Saudi policies

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AL JAZEERA — Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed (MbZ) is working on breaking up Saudi Arabia, leaked documents obtained by Lebanese newspaper Al Akhbar revealed.

Al Akhbar said that the leaked documents contained secret diplomatic briefings sent by UAE and Jordanian ambassadors in Beirut to their respective governments.

One of the documents, issued on September 20, 2017, disclosed the outcome of a meeting between Jordan’s ambassador to Lebanon Nabil Masarwa and his Kuwaiti counterpart Abdel-Al al-Qenaie.

“The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed is working on breaking up the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” the Jordanian envoy quoted the Kuwait ambassador as saying.

A second document, issued on September 28, 2017, reveals meeting minutes between the Jordanian ambassador and his UAE counterpart Hamad bin Saeed al-Shamsi.

The document said the Jordanian ambassador informed his government that UAE believes that “Saudi policies are failing both domestically and abroad, especially in Lebanon”.

“The UAE is dissatisfied with Saudi policies,” the Jordanian envoy said.

The Qatar vote
According to the leaks, UAE ambassador claims that Lebanon voted for Qatar’s Hamad bin Abdulaziz al-Kawari in his bid to become head of UNESCO in October 2017.

“[Lebanese Prime Minister Saad] Hariri knew Lebanon was voting for Qatar,” the UAE ambassador said in a cable sent to his government on October 18, 2017.

In November last year, Hariri announced his shock resignation from the Saudi capital Riyadh.

He later deferred his decision, blaming Iran and its Lebanese ally in Lebanon, Hezbollah, for his initial resignation. He also said he feared an assassination attempt.

Officials in Lebanon alleged that Hariri was held hostage by Saudi authorities, an allegation Hariri denied in his first public statement following his resignation speech.

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Somalia’s Puntland region asks UAE to stay as Gulf split deepens

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BOSASO, Somalia (Reuters) – Somalia’s semi-autonomous Puntland region urged the United Arab Emirates not to close its security operations in the country after a dispute with the central government, saying the Gulf power was a key ally in the fight against Islamist militants.

The dispute goes to the heart of an increasingly troubled relationship between Gulf states – divided by their own disputes – and fractured Somalia, whose coastline sits close to key shipping routes and across the water from Yemen.

Analysts have said the complex standoff risks exacerbating an already explosive security situation on both sides of the Gulf of Aden, where militant groups launch regular attacks.

The central Somali government said on Wednesday it was taking over a military training program run by the UAE.

Days later the UAE announced it was pulling out, accusing Mogadishu of seizing millions of dollars from a plane, money it said was meant to pay soldiers.

“We ask our UAE friends, not only to stay, but to redouble their efforts in helping Somalia stand on its feet,” said the office of the president of Puntland, a territory that sits on the tip of the Horn of Africa looking out over the Gulf of Aden.

Ending UAE support, “will only help our enemy, particularly Al Shabaab and ISIS (Islamic State),” it added late on Monday.

SUSPICION, RESENTMENT

The UAE is one of a number of Gulf powers that have opened bases along the coast of the Horn of Africa and promised investment and donations as they compete for influence in the insecure but strategically important region.

That competition has been exacerbated by a diplomatic rift between Qatar and a bloc including the UAE. In turn, those splits have worsened divisions in Somalia.

Puntland, which has said it wants independence, has sought to woo the UAE which runs an anti-piracy training center there and is developing the main port. The central government in Mogadishu last year criticized Puntland for taking sides in the Gulf dispute. Qatar’s ally Turkey is one of Somalia’s biggest investors.

One Somali government official said last week Mogadishu had decided to take over the UAE operation because the Gulf state’s contract to run it had expired. Another official said the government was investigating the money taken from the plane.

The competition among Gulf states in Somalia has fueled accusations of foreign interference and resentment in many corners of Somali society.

The loss of the UAE program could have a destabilizing effect, said one security analyst, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“The value of the UAE trained forces was two-fold – they were relatively well trained but, most importantly, they were paid on time,” unlike other parts of the security forces, the analyst told Reuters.

Somalia has been mired in conflict since 1991.

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Puntland President calls UAE continue its mission in Somalia

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