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Humanitarian Watch

Somalia seeks world’s help to strengthen disaster response

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MOGADISHU, Sept. 7 (Xinhua) — Somalia has called for joint efforts by the international relief agencies to strengthen disaster response in Somalia.

Minister for Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management Maryam Qasim on Thursday called on foreign relief agencies to team up with local organizations to deliver assistance to the intended recipients.

“We need to work with local responders and ensure they are prepared to manage huge funding and that systems are in place to ensure that aid reaches its intended recipients,” Qasim told a conference in Mogadishu.

She said the federal government was working to institutionalize national disaster management to promote effective disaster preparedness.

According to a statement from the UN mission in Somalia (UNSOM), the minister also called for greater involvement of local non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the private sector in the funding and assistance to vulnerable groups in order to foster a culture of resilience and safety in communities

“We need to promote the growing role of local responders and the private sector. We need to see more local investment going through the local responders,” the minister said.

The conference brought together local and international organizations engaged in delivering humanitarian aid to drought victims.

The Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Somalia and UN Resident Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, Peter de Clercq, lauded Somali NGOs for their crucial role in averting famine thus far this year.

“We can again look at some of the positive aspects that are coming out of the drought in terms of empowering local actors and I want, in this respect, to mention the Somalia Humanitarian Fund that we have used where we continue to prioritize national NGOs,” Clercq said.

He noted that of the 45 million U.S. dollars that was allocated under the humanitarian fund, 38 percent was channeled to national NGOs.

The meeting was a follow up to a similar conference held in May in Nairobi that examined the role of local humanitarian organizations in the overall drought response effort.

The head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Somalia, Justin Brady, praised local actors for their role in preventing the current drought afflicting the country from causing a famine.

“In order to prevent famine, it required a shift into more rural areas, and that by definition necessitated reliance on more Somali national actors. I think some of what we did in the area between 2011 and 2012 and the beginning of this crisis paid off,” noted Brady.

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Humanitarian Watch

More Than 130 Somali Refugees Repatriated from Yemen

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GENEVA — In a joint operation funded by the United States, the U.N. migration and refugee agencies have repatriated 134 Somali refugees from war-torn Yemen.

A refugee boat carrying 73 men and women and 61 children left the Yemeni port of Aden on Monday and is to arrive Tuesday at the Somali port of Berbera. It is the third voluntary return of Somalis organized by the International Organization for Migration and U.N. refugee agency since September.

IOM spokesman Joel Millman said some previous efforts had to be suspended in the past few years because of the risks involved in organizing an operation such as this in a war-torn country.

“Despite security difficulties there and the fact of divided authorities, we were still able to get into an area around Aden that has not always been accessible to humanitarian aid groups and manage this transport,” he said.

The U.N. migration agency reports the Somalis came to Yemen in search of a better life, but got caught up in the conflict and often were subjected to abuse by smugglers. The IOM began organizing the voluntary returns in November 2016. Since then, the agency has helped 1,845 Somalis return home.

Millman told VOA Somali refugees receive a reintegration package to help them restart their lives when they arrive home. He said they often receive a grant of $1,100 so they can start a business, buy a cow, or invest in some other form of livelihood. That acts as a big inducement for refugees to voluntarily return, he noted.

“It is a strong sweetener because the stigma of going abroad and failing is so great that we find this is a very effective way of lubricating I guess is the best word, this process,” he said.

Millman said the cash grant ends up being less expensive for the donor than the cost of keeping a refugee or migrant in detention in Europe. He noted that the repatriation project is funded by a $4.4 million donation from the United States.

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Humanitarian Watch

Somalia faces yet another famine

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Somalia is facing its second major famine in six years.

Under the shadow of that threat, one aid group is making a difference for the many Somalis who have lost loved ones and their homes.

When it struck in 2011, the Turkish Red Crescent was among the first international aid groups to help. And it hasn’t left Somalia since.

TRT World’s Editor-at-Large Ahmed al Burai, has more.

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Humanitarian Watch

9 dead, more at a risk as drought ravages Somalia

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A severe drought has claimed the lives of at least nine people in Somalia’s Galkayo District, media reported.

The state broadcaster, Mogadishu Radio, quoted Galkayo Mayor Hersi Yusuf Bare giving the statistics while warning that the situation could get worse.

“The destitute people I met at Harhaar pastoral land are deeply susceptible to the effects of the famine generated by the severe drought,” said Mr Bare.

“So far, nine people have died in the areas visited, a sign that many more were vulnerable,” he added.

The mayor said the severe weather conditions had displaced thousands from Galkayo, which lies some 750km north of the capital Mogadishu.

He stressed that many nomadic people had been forced to migrate as the drought continued to decimate most of their livestock.

The generally insufficient rains in the southern and central Somalia have severely diminished the local food supplies.

UN agency OCHA on August 31 stated that malnutrition had reached emergency levels in a number of locations in southern and central Somalia.

“Malnutrition, one of the leading indicators of the crisis, has reached emergency levels in a number of locations in southern and central Somalia, primarily, though not exclusively among displaced populations,” OCHA was quoted saying in ReliefWeb .

“Overall, some 388,000 acutely malnourished children are in need of critical nutrition support, including life-saving treatment for more than 87,000 severely malnourished children.”

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