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Roughly 7.7 million people in Somalia will need assistance and protection in 2022, a 30 per cent rise in just one year, the UN and partners said on Monday, launching a nearly $1.5 billion Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) for the country. 

The funding will support 5.5 million of the most vulnerable as Somalia faces its third failed rainy season in a row, for the first time in 30 years. 

‘No time to lose’   

The UN has also released $17 million from its Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to meet the immediate needs of drought-affected communities.  

The allocation brings total CERF funding for Somalia in 2021 to $52 million.  This is alongside nearly $60 million provided by donors through the Somalia Humanitarian Fund, which supports projects by international and national organizations. 

“The lives of people in Somalia are on the line, and we have no time to lose,” said UN humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths, adding that the new CERF allocation will allow for an immediate scale-up of critical operations. 

“I count on other donors to follow this lead and support the Somalia Humanitarian Fund to help people protect themselves from deepening hunger and poverty.” 

Prioritizing vulnerable Somalis 

Somalia has faced decades of conflict, climate shocks and disease outbreaks, including the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact, while a prolonged desert locust infestation has affected harvests as well as livelihoods. At least seven in 10 people live below the poverty line. 

The HRP prioritizes life-saving assistance for those most in need.  It focusses on addressing hunger, acute malnutrition, threats to public health, disease outbreaks, abuse, violence and exposure to explosive ordnance. 

Humanitarian partners also aim to ensure highly vulnerable Somalis have safe, equitable and dignified access to livelihoods and essential services.  

“Over the next year, we must provide the assistance that the most vulnerable people in Somalia are entitled to,” said Adam Abdelmoula, UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia. 

“A fast and efficient way to do this is through substantial and early funding for the 2022 HRP, and helping to replenish the depleted Somalia Humanitarian Fund, which is the most important source of funding for national NGO partners.”  

More than 541,000 people in Somalia were forced to flee their homes this year alone due to conflict and insecurity, the humanitarian partners said.   

Starvation warning 

Nearly three million people overall have been displaced within the country, and most need help to survive. Half of all those uprooted are women and girls, who face heightened risk of sexual violence and abuse.  

“The current drought has devastated livelihoods and pushed families to the brink of disaster. There is a high risk that without immediate humanitarian assistance, children, women and men will start dying of starvation in Somalia,” warned Khadija Diriye, the Federal Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management. 

It is projected that the drought could displace up to 1.4 million people in the coming six months. Widespread livestock deaths are already being reported, while prices for food, water and fuel are rapidly increasing. 

Humanitarian partners fear that without a scale-up in assistance, roughly 3.8 million people, including those affected by drought, could face crisis or worse levels of food insecurity, with numbers rising to 4.6 million by May 2022. 

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of UN News.

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