Sunday, September 4, 2011

AFRICA: SOMALIA: CRISIS CONTINUES AS FOOD SUPPLIES LOW

CISA REPORT: MOGADISHU, September 2, 2011 –The humanitarian crisis in Somalia is not over yet, and more food is needed to feed a rising number of hungry people in the country, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Antonio Guterres, has said.

Addressing a press conference in a Nairobi hotel on his arrival from Mogadishu, Mr Guterres said the international community must continue supplying humanitarian aid to famine ravaged sections of Somalia.

“While I thank the international community for its response to the current food crises, I at the same time make an appeal for more food for the hunger-stricken Somali people,” he emphasized.

The number of those still in need of food in the country is still on the rise, he said.

During his visit to Mogadishu, Mr Guterres , who was accompanied by the Swedish minister for International Development and Co-operation Ms Gunilla Carlsson, visited a number of feeding centres for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in south and central Somalia. The visit was also to show solidarity with the locals as it was at the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

He also held discussions with relevant authorities as well as implementing partners, to understand challenges faced in efforts to alleviate continued suffering of vulnerable IDP population.

He urged parties that are in conflict in the country to respect humanitarian organisations in order for them to accomplish their mandate.

Asked what percentage of the people in need of food aid has been reached so far, the UNHCR chief said he did not have the statistics, but added, “We are in all agreement that we need to scale up our contribution.”

“A good percentage of those in need of food has been reached, but the challenge still stands: we need to do more.”

Ms Carlsson called for strengthening of AMISOM to improve security. UNHCR has had only intermittent access to many areas due to extreme insecurity.

She also decried the rate of unemployment among the youth approximated to be 100 percent.

Mr Guterres thanked the Swedish government for being the biggest financial contributor to UNHCR.

http://www.cisanewsafrica.com/

The UN estimates that 3.8 million people need food aid in Somalia, currently facing the worst drought in decades.

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