somalia humanitarian emergency

Somalia: humanitarian emergency, the government asks for aid

Somalia is experiencing an economic, political, and social crisis, exasperated by the intervention of foreign countries such as Turkey.

The government of Mogadishu has appealed to the international community to provide humanitarian aid to 5.9 million Somalis this year. According to reports from the Garowe website online, Khadija Mohamed Diriye, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, denounced the lack of humanitarian funding, warning that if no action is taken to address this emergency, the cost could be catastrophic.

“We are distraught; 5.9 million people, almost half of Somalia’s population, including children, women, and men, are in danger of being left to themselves,” she said. The statement came after the minister called an urgent meeting with the member states’ ministries that make up the Somali federation.

Diriye said the humanitarian situation was exacerbated by a double climate disaster (drought in some parts of the country and floods in others) and the impact of political tensions, Covid-19, and the worst locust infestation in recent years. She called on the international community and donors to ensure urgent additional funds to support the whole operation of the Humanitarian Response Plan for Somalia 2021.

Somalia is experiencing an economic, political, and social crisis, exasperated by the intervention of foreign countries such as Turkey. Ankara has the most extensive military base in Africa in Mogadishu. In addition, the government has supplied military weapons and equipment that have often ended up in the hands of terrorist groups such as Al-Shabab. The extremist group, relying on local tribal divisions, has also infiltrated the state security apparatus.

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Last week, the US military carried out an airstrike against the terrorist group. Pentagon spokeswoman Cindy King said the airstrike was carried out against groups of al-Shabaab militiamen in the Galkayo region, about 700 kilometers northeast of Mogadishu.

“Due to the ongoing engagement between al-Shabaab and Somali forces, the damage assessment of the attack is still pending, however according to the Command’s initial assessment, no civilians have been injured or killed,” she said in the statement. The US Forces Command in Africa (AFRICOM) carried out the attack coordinated with the Somali government.

The United Nations also recorded an “alarming” 80 percent increase in sexual violence in Somalia. As documented in two recent reports by the Secretary-General, the figure was described as “appalling” by two UN Special Representatives. “We urge all parties to the conflict in Somalia to cease these violations immediately,” the Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, Virginia Gamba, and the Special Representative for Sexual Violence in Conflict, Pramila Patten, said in a statement.

The UN report links sexual violence to conditions of insecurity prevailing in Somalia following the Ankara intervention. That led to political tensions in the run-up to national elections, inter-municipal clashes related to disputes on the mainland, and a wave of activity by the extremist militant group Al-Shabaab, which escalated during the COVID-19 pandemic.