ISTANBUL — Turkey is planning to deliver 15,000 tons of humanitarian aid to Somalia during the holy month of Ramadan, Deputy Foreign Minister Ahmet Yildiz said Thursday.
Somalia is one of several African states facing famine due to drought.
“The hunger threat has repeated in sub-Saharan Africa, notably in the Horn of Africa, was caused by a new drought,” Yildiz said at the opening of an event sponsored by Turkey, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and the UN Development Program.
“We, as Turkey, have started a national donation campaign for hunger crisis in the Horn of Africa and Yemen led by our president, similar to the one we did in 2011.
“We are planning to deliver 15,000 tons of humanitarian aid materials to various areas of Somalia during Ramadan.”
The drought has hit 11 of Somalia’s 18 regions, including the worst-affected Bay region.
The deputy minister added that Turkey’s annual humanitarian aid budget had risen from around $85 million a decade ago to $6 billion last year.
“According to 2015 data, our country became the most generous donor country in the world when the ratio of official humanitarian aid is considered according to national income,” he said.
Somalia’s Puntland Region Declares State of Emergency Over Drought
Somalia’s semi-autonomous region of Puntland declared a state of emergency Tuesday and appealed for food and water because of shortages triggered by a severe drought.
Drought has gripped large parts of the Horn of Africa country this year and the United Nations says children face acute malnutrition.
The crisis is compounded by al-Shabab’s Islamist insurgency that seeks to topple the central government that is backed by African Union peacekeepers and the West.
Al-Shabab militants carry out bombings in the capital Mogadishu and other regions. Militants killed more than 500 people in the capital in an attack last month.
Puntland’s government said 34,000 households across the region are affected by the drought due to the failure of successive rainy seasons.
Puntland “launched a wide-ranging humanitarian appeal to secure food, water and other resources for the affected region,” a government statement said. It said 70 percent of the area faced extreme drought and was unlikely to receive rain for five months.
Militant attacks in Puntland are rare compared to the rest of Somalia mainly because its security forces are relatively regularly paid and receive substantial U.S. assistance.
But this year there has been an upsurge in violence as al-Shabab and a splinter group linked to Islamic State have attacked government troops.
Family in remote northern Somali village sell last camel in lost bid to save daughter sick with measles
RADIO ERGO — Saleban Mohamed Mire lost two of his daughters, aged six and two, from measles in the space of a week in the remote and forgotten northern Somali village of Fardhin.
After one daughter died, he sold his last remaining camel to get the money to transport the other sick child to the nearest hospital, some 45 km away on poor roads in the dusty town of Boame.
But they arrived there too late to save her.
“After my first daughter died at home we decided to rush the other one to hospital. We organised some money but it took us four days to travel to the hospital. She was in a critical state when we got there and the doctors couldn’t do much to save her,” Saledin told Radio Ergo.
“I blame the lack of health care [in our area] for their deaths from this disease,” he added.
The family, with eight children, ended up using the $350 they got from the sale of their camel to pay the medical fees for their dead daughter, who spent two days in hospital.
Saleeban said there were other families in his village with patients affected by measles and with no means of accessing hospitals.
“We have seen deaths of children in the area, I took part in the burial of two other children two days ago in Karin-Kafood village, I presume that they died of measles,” he
Dr Mohamed Yasin Warasame, known as Hayte, who works in a private hospital in Boame, told Radio Ergo that three people died whilst being treated in his hospital.
“There are over 50 people who have been hospitalized with the disease. It is causing concern particularly in Karin-karfood village. The people who are sick in the rural areas where there are no medical services are the worst affected,” he said.
The District Commissioner’s office confirmed the deaths of three people including a six- year-old girl and a 10-year-old boy.
Boame lies in the border area between Puntland, Somaliland and Ethiopia. Its control is disputed by Puntland and Somaliland and as a result it has very poor services and little if any access to aid. The people living there are traditionally nomadic pastoralists.
The commissioner of Boame district, Hayle Hassan Shire, told Radio Ergo’s local reporter that people often contacted his office asking for help but they were not able to do much to stop the spread of measles in the district.
“We tried to ask for aid from Puntland administration two weeks ago but they have not yet responded,” the commissioner said.
He added that vaccination services do not always reach the 15 remote villages in the district, where there are also up to 20 spontaneous camps that have been set up by distressed pastoralists displaced from their normal migration patterns by the terrible drought.
The recent rainfall in some areas has prompted a new movement of large numbers of people in search of water and pasture for their animals. This has led to the spread of diseases such as measles.
Apart from one private hospital, Boame has only two Mother and Child Health centres.
Dr Hayte said there is a need for health services to be taken out to the people in distant villages.
“We are private hospital and we have medicine, we treat whoever comes here at a fee and we sometimes give them services on credit. But there are many others who cannot afford to reach the hospital. These people need humanitarian aid,” he said.
UN appeals for record $22.5 bn in global aid for 2018
AFP — The United Nations appealed Friday for a record $22.5 billion (18.9 billion euros) to provide aid in 2018 to soaring numbers of people slammed by conflicts and disasters around the world.
The global appeal by UN agencies and other humanitarian organisations aims to raise funds to help the some 91 million most vulnerable of the nearly 136 million people expected to need aid across 26 countries next year.
The number of people in need of international assistance worldwide has thus risen more than five percent from last year’s estimate.
“More people than ever before will need our assistance,” UN humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock said in a statement launching the appeal.
Drought, floods and other weather-related catastrophes are expected to continue racking up humanitarian needs.
But Lowcock stressed that “conflict, in particular protracted crises, will continue to be the main driver of need in 2018.”
One conflict clearly tops the charts in terms of humanitarian needs.
A full $7.66 billion is needed to address the staggering needs created by Syria’s brutal conflict alone — more than a third of the requested amount of funds next year.
According to the appeal, $3.5 billion is needed to provide humanitarian assistance inside the war-ravaged country, where more than 340,000 people have been killed and millions driven from their homes since March 2011.
Another $4.16 billion is needed to address the towering needs of the 5.3 million Syrian refugees registered in neighbouring countries, as well as of their over-burdened host communities, the appeal said.
War-torn Yemen, which is facing the world’s most dire humanitarian crisis, comes next on the list, with Friday’s appeal urging donors to cough up $2.5 billion to provide desperately needed assistance to the most vulnerable people in the country.
That amount would meanwhile only cover the needs of 10.8 million people — fewer than half of the 22.2 million in need of aid, the UN acknowledged.
Other major crises requiring substantial funds include South Sudan, which has been wracked by civil war since 2013, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, Sudan and Nigeria.
On a more positive note, the UN said that humanitarian needs in a number of countries, including Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Iraq and Ukraine had declined some, although they still remained high.
At the same time however, “substantial increases in needed are projected” in places like Burundi, Cameroon, the Central African Republic and Libya, it warned.
The amount appealed for Friday marks a one-percent hike over the $22.2 billion requested last December for 2017.
But there is little chance all the requested cash will materialise.
Last year, donors covered just over half of the appeal, dishing out only $13 billion for aid around the world.