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Civil society support is key to success of $919m relief plan

Displaced people wait to be given food during a distribution organised by the UN World Food Programme, USAID and other local and international NGOs, in Mogadishu Somalia on September 2008.
Displaced people wait to be given food (Jamal Osman/IRIN)

Greater resources and international support for civil society working in Somalia are needed to reach more people, said agencies.



"Although civil society plays an important role in assisting unarmed civilians, it often suffers a lack of adequate support," Asha Haji Elmi of the Mogadishu-based NGO, Save Somali Women and Children, told IRIN.



Elmi was speaking at the launch of the 2009 consolidated appeal for humanitarian aid in Somalia. The appeal has requested US$919 million in funding, up from $662 million in 2008, reflecting a jump in the numbers of those in need and aid delivery costs, due to an increasing reliance on air transportation.



"What is lacking is the capacity and resources from the international community," Elmi said. "There is a need for a proper partnership to fill the gap.



"The civil society in Somalia has already paid a huge price trying to assist the needy," Elmi added.



Access to parts of south-central Somalia, where the vast majority of humanitarian needs are, has become increasingly difficult due to conflict and the targeting and abduction of humanitarian workers. By 27 October, 30 aid workers had been killed, with another 10 kidnapped and still in captivity. The security situation has particularly worsened in the capital Mogadishu and south-central Somalia.



Two key international NGOs, serving about a million beneficiaries, have temporarily suspended operations in central Somalia. Aid agencies have also had to grapple with the threat of piracy.



"A lot of times humanitarian access is unpredictable," said Mark Bowden, the UN Somalia Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, adding that despite this, it was important for the international community to continue responding to the crisis.



"The responsibility to respond is as important as the responsibility to protect," Bowden said. "… ‘Fatigue' should not be allowed to affect the humanitarian situation," he said. "People should not dismiss Somalia [as if] this is the normal state of things."



Livestock blow



Drought and high prices have also taken a toll. "Livelihoods have been affected by high livestock deaths and abortion rates which have depleted stocks. This is undermining the ability of pastoralists to recover," Cindy Holleman, chief technical adviser of the Food Security Analysis Unit (FSAU) of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), said.












Asha Haji Elmi of the Mogadishu-based NGO, Save Somali Women and Children after the launch of the 2009 consolidated appeal for humanitarian aid in Somalia in Nairobi. The number of people requiring humanitarian and emergency livelihood support in Somalia

Ann Weru/IRIN
Asha Haji Elmi of the Mogadishu-based NGO, Save Somali Women and Children after the launch of the 2009 consolidated appeal for humanitarian aid in Somalia in Nairobi. The number of people requiring humanitarian and emergency livelihood support in Somalia
http://www.irinnews.org/photo.aspx
Monday, December 1, 2008
Civil society support is key to success of $919m relief plan
Asha Haji Elmi of the Mogadishu-based NGO, Save Somali Women and Children after the launch of the 2009 consolidated appeal for humanitarian aid in Somalia in Nairobi. The number of people requiring humanitarian and emergency livelihood support in Somalia


Photo: Ann Weru
Asha Haji Elmi of the Mogadishu-based NGO, Save Somali Women and Children

"They [pastoralists] have lost significant numbers of herds and it will be difficult to recover without external assistance," Holleman said. Livestock exports in the pre-Hajj season have fallen due to the poor quality of herds.



Severe acute malnutrition is also at an alarming 6 percent in central Somalia, said Holleman. The emergency threshold is 4 percent. "We are going to be seeing children dying in the next few weeks."



Households in the region cannot access enough food without relying on gifts, remittances and food aid, she said.



There is a need for therapeutic and supplementary feeding and food aid provision, she said, adding that social coping mechanisms were overstretched.



Priorities



Key priorities of the 2009 appeal include providing assistance to 3.2 million people in humanitarian emergency and acute food and livelihood crisis. A large share of the funding, about $544 million, would go towards food aid.



Holleman said the population was also facing an economic crisis, with inflation of 200 percent, although prices were beginning to stabilise. "If we do not respond effectively this year we will end up with half the population destitute," she warned.



The 2009 appeal is the second largest internationally after the Sudan appeal in terms of volume of assistance, said Bowden.



The number of people requiring humanitarian and emergency livelihood support in Somalia almost doubled in 2008, increasing by 77 percent from 1.8 million in January to more than 3.2 million by July, stated the 2009 appeal.



aw/mw



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This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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