Somalia Famine Crisis Funding Woefully Short

Irish President Mary Robinson travelled to Somalia today for the first time since her 1992 visit brought famine and war there to worldwide attention and pleads for more International help for this huge humanitarian crisis.

Famine in Somalia Guardian link shows how the aid effort is being co-ordinated.

The UN operates a cluster system with different agencies taking the lead in different areas. So, for example, Unicef, operating with approximately 100 different partners, is in charge of nutrition aimed at children. It is bringing therapeutic food supplies, such as fortified milk for young children that has to be administered at health centres and sachets of peanut paste that can be taken independently. 

Unicef is also supplying clean water. Aid agencies need food supplies for 3 million people over the next six months, but funding is woefully short. 

David Bull, executive director of Unicef UK, says the agency is a "long way away" from the $30m it needs for the next three months. 

Full page ads appeared in today's UK newspapers in the form of a letter from David Bull, stating: "I am writing for your support in moving the news agenda on.

"The story about phone hacking does matter, but there's another, far bigger and vital story that's going un-reported.

"This morning, the United Nations will formally declare a famine in parts of southern Somalia."

The FAO is appealing for $70m for Somalia for cash-for-work activities, provision of farm inputs and livestock emergency health services.

It is also calling for $50m for Ethiopia, Kenya, Djibouti and Uganda.

Oxfam has accused some rich governments of wilful neglect. It says, of the estimated $1bn needed to stave off a major humanitarian catastrophe, only about $200m in new money has so far been provided.

Link to short RTE video here
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