1.7 mn Somalis in Puntland, Somaliland need aid: UN

Mogadishu, May 12 (IANS) The UN said on Wednesday that some 1.7 million or 37 percent of 4.6 million people living in Puntland and Somaliland are in need of humanitarian assistance.

UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, Peter de Clercq, who witnessed firsthand the impact of the devastating drought in parts of Puntland and Somaliland during his recent visits, called for urgent action to avert a deterioration of the situation, Xinhua reported.

“I am deeply concerned about the devastating effects of the persisting drought on the communities in Puntland and Somaliland. I have called for urgent action to avert a rapid deterioration of the situation,” Clercq said in a statement issued in Mogadishu.

“If we can vaccinate livestock and provide cash and inputs to agro-pastoralists now, we can mitigate the impact of the current drought,” he added.

The UN says the drought in the two regional states has impacted lives and livelihoods, compounding an already challenging humanitarian situation.

In some areas, 60-80 percent of herds have been lost, with devastating impact on families who depend on livestock for income, food and status.

“The situation remains of serious concern in spite of the rains with nearly 385,000 people in Puntland and Somaliland facing acute food insecurity while an estimated 1.3 million people are at risk of slipping into acute food insecurity if they do not receive assistance,” Clercq said.

During his visit, the UN official said he met with representatives of the government, donors, humanitarian partners and affected communities to assess the impact the current drought and ongoing response by partners.

The UN said partners are scaling up with more resources starting to come since March when it launched the Call for Aid requesting $105 million to boost the drought response.

“Priority is given to putting cash in people’s pockets to save lives and enable recovery of livelihoods for both pastoralists and agro-pastoralists,” Clercq said.



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