Somalia needs NZ$3 billion

The British public has raised NZ$80 million for Somalia in just over three weeks, but three more regions have been hit by the famine, so much more is needed.

Brendan Gormley, chief execution of the British Disasters Emergency Committee said: “To raise NZ$80 million in just over three weeks is a wonderful demonstration of public concern for those in need.”

“We can’t lose sight of the fact however, that this is an escalating crisis.”

The UN’s food arm, the Food and Agriculture Organisation said the famine is likely to spread across all regions of Somalia’s south in the next four to six weeks, with famine conditions likely to last until December.

Despite the peoples’ generosity the UN says the response so far has not been at a level required to match the humanitarian need.

“The current humanitarian response remains inadequate, due in part to ongoing access restrictions and difficulties in scaling‐up emergency assistance programmes, as well as funding gaps,” said the UN’s famine early warning system network. As a result, famine is expected to spread across all regions of the south in the coming four to six weeks and is likely to persist until at least December 2011. Continued efforts to implement an immediate, large scale, and comprehensive response are needed.”

The UN assessment is that NZ$3 billion is needed and so far the world has not yet raised half of that amount.

Islamist insurgents who have refused access to western relief agencies have not helped the situation.

The drought and famine which has affected more than 11.8 million people has Pope Benedict repeating his calls for the world to not forget the Somali people.

Spreaking from his summer residence in Castel Gandolfo where he has been paying great attention to horror of the Somali peope, the Pope invited the faithful “to think of the many brothers and sisters who in these days in the Horn of Africa, are suffering the dramatic consequences of famine, aggravated by war and the absence of solid institutions.”

Women and daughters are in particular need of institutional help.

Kenyan refugee camps built to house 90,000 people are overcrowded and cannot cope with the 1,400 refugees arriving each day and as a result the UN is reporting a 420% increase in reported rape of women and girls.

Many more rapes go unreported.



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