UN seeks $900M for Somalia's humanitarian crisis

This emerged at an international conference on Somalia in London that is looking how to accelerate progress on security, development and the economy by 2020. The country in the Horn of Africa faces pressing security and humanitarian issues.

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

The meeting is being co-chaired by Somalia's new President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and British Prime Minister Theresa May.

The United Nations is seeking a further $900 million this year for Somalia, where more than 6 million people need humanitarian assistance and 275,000 malnourished children are at risk of starvation, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Thursday.

Mired in violent chaos since 1991, Somalia is also suffering the effects of a severe drought that has left parts of the country on the brink of famine.

"The drought is the most pressing priority," Guterres said in opening remarks at an international conference on Somalia in London.

The London conference is co-hosted by the British government, the United Nations and Somalia's UN-backed federal government, led by President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, who took office in February after a Western-backed electoral process.

Responding to the humanitarian crisis

As well as galvanising the international community to boost its response to the humanitarian crisis, the conference also aims to broker a security pact under which disparate forces would join together to form a functional national Somali army.

African Union troops, supporting Somalia's own weak and dysfunctional military, have clawed back most of the country's major towns and cities from Al Qaeda-linked group Al-Shabaab since the insurgents abandoned the capital Mogadishu in 2010.

However, the militants continue to launch deadly attacks.

"Put simply, I want to strike a bargain whereby Somalia’s leaders carry out vital security reforms – including drawing up a clear plan for a National Army – in return for more help and training from the international community," British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson wrote in an article published by a US website on Tuesday.

The one-day conference is looking to strike a new compact that will accelerate progress on security, development and the troubled east African country's economy by 2020.

TRTWorld and agencies