9 October 2009 Aid from the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) reached 1.3 million Somalis in the war-wracked Horn of Africa nation last month, but funding shortfalls prevented the agency from assisting millions more in need, it was announced today.
Over 22,000 metric tons of food were distributed, but with less than half of funds needed received, WFP was forced to scale back its operations, making it unable to reach all 3 million Somalis with 48,000 metric tons of food than the agency had hoped to.
WFP urgently needs a nearly $200 million influx to allow it to feed 3.3 million Somalis through next April.
Over the past week, the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) partnered with a local organization to distribute hundreds of hygiene kits, including soap and towels, to people living in a settlement for internally displaced persons (IDPs) outside of the war-battered capital, Mogadishu, which has experienced escalated fighting in recent months.
UNFPA is also supporting a campaign to treat victims of fistula, the debilitating injury of the reproductive system, at a hospital in the capital run by the African Union’s peacekeeping operation in Somalia, known as AMISOM.
In Waajid, an area of the Bakool region in western Somalia, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the UN Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS) are assisting with efforts to rebuild classrooms, separate latrines for boys and girls and a water tank that is set to benefit 400 children.
The top UN political official told the Security Council yesterday that while there has been slow but notable progress towards stability in the country, international financial support for the transitional government is vital, with speed being the most critical element.
“Money received today in Somalia will have far greater impact on stability than that which arrives in three months’ time,” Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs B. Lynn Pascoe said, adding that the “extremely generous pledges” of $200 million made earlier this year need to be fulfilled immediately.
At the same time, he said, the humanitarian situation has “worsened dramatically” over the past three months due to intensified fighting in Mogadishu, growing insecurity in much of southern and central Somalia, and deepening drought.
Some 3.7 million people – or nearly half of the population – are now in need of livelihood and humanitarian aid, up from 3.2 million in January.
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