The United States has provided nearly $199 million in additional humanitarian assistance for the people of Somalia who have faced decades of chronic food insecurity.

Development Diaries reports that Somalia has not been able to feed itself because of conflict, desert locust infestation, the economic impacts of Covid-19, drought, and flooding.

It is understood that livestock and fishing, which are leading income earners in the country, have been affected by conflict, climate change, piracy and illegal fishing.

The United Nations has estimated that 5.9 million people, half of the country’s population, need humanitarian assistance.

According to the International Rescue Committee (IRC), 1.7 million people in Somalia face acute food insecurity, with nearly 50,000 of them reported to have been forced to flee their homes in search of food, water, aid and work.

Covid-19 has greatly hit Somalia’s private sector, contracting sales and employment by about 30 percent and leaving most firms with liquidity challenges, according to a World Bank survey.

The study, which was conducted with support from United Nations Industrial Development Organisation, the Somali Ministry of Commerce and Industry and the Somali Chamber of Commerce, found about 45 percent of firms surveyed had to suspend operations, on average for about seven weeks.

Two-thirds of firms experienced weakened demand while 70 percent sustained disruptions to their supplies of inputs and raw materials.

‘The United States is the largest single donor of humanitarian aid in Somalia and for Somali refugees in the region, and we welcome efforts by the UN to draw attention to the plight of the people of Somalia’, the U.S. Department of State said in a statement on its website.

The nearly $199 million additional funding, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the U.S. Department of State, brings the total U.S. humanitarian assistance for the people of Somalia to more than $408 million for Fiscal Year 2021.

‘This assistance will help many of the nearly six million people of Somalia in need of humanitarian aid, including three million displaced people inside Somalia as well as nearly 500,000 Somali refugees in Djibouti, Ethiopia, and Kenya’, the statement read.

It also noted that the new funding will provide emergency food and nutrition assistance, safe drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene, shelter, protection, education, and health care, as well as logistics and other support, in the face of worsening environmental, humanitarian, and conflict-related challenges.

‘We remain concerned about the continuing increase in humanitarian needs, and we urge other donors to contribute to the international response and provide the support needed to save lives’, it added.

In January, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the European Union (EU) commenced a three-year project in Somalia with a view to improving food security.

Source: U.S. Department of State

Photo source: AMISOM Public Information

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