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UN: Dearth of Aid Funds, Violence Threatens People in Need in Somalia

The risk of famine still lingers in Somalia among displaced people despite increased humanitarian assistance and rains bringing some relief from the devastating drought, UN humanitarians said.

However, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) on Tuesday warned of a funding shortfall and continuing violence affecting the delivery of relief.

According to OCHA, the Unicef reported the lack of financing could affect its provision of water and sanitation services, emergency education and nutrition services.

The World Food Programme (WFP) had to cut food assistance from more than four million people assisted in March to 1.8 million people in July, Xinhua news agency reported.

The office said more partners would be forced to suspend, scale back or shut down programmes if additional funding is not received immediately.

In addition to the lack of resources, violence continues to hamper the humanitarian response, OCHA said, noting that on July 25, Medecins Sans Frontieres announced its withdrawal of support to the General Hospital in Laas Caanood due to insecurity.

Despite the threat of violence, the humanitarian office added that relief assistance continues to be delivered.

“As of June, our partners have reached some 5.7 million people,” OCHA said.

“A polio vaccination campaign has just been completed, reaching 2.4 million children under the age of five years across the country.”

The office added that halfway through the year, the Humanitarian Response Plan for Somalia received just 33 per cent of the $2.6 billion needed, heavily impacting the work of the UN.

Humanitarian assistance must be sustained to avoid a slide into the worst outcomes in Somalia, OCHA said.

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