UK says no additional funding to avert famine in Somalia

The United Kingdom will not provide additional funding aimed at averting famine in Somalia, Dalsan TV understands. 

British Members of Parliament on Wednesday published letters from the government indicating funds for the critical humanitarian situation in Somalia can only be available in five months. 

The International Development Committee of the assembly which held an evidence session on the deteriorating situation in the Horn of Africa was informed about the government position. 

The session was attended Mamadou Dian Baldé, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Representative in Ethiopia and Michael Dunford, Regional Director of Eastern Africa, United Nations World Food Programme

The Committee’s Chair, Sarah Champion MP, wrote to the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Secretary, James Cleverly MP in October to urge the Government to take urgent action to avert famine in the country.

The UK’s commitment to Somalia is £52.8 million, allocated for humanitarian, health and nutrition during the current financial year. 

The Chair’s letter sets out questions relating to how the UK’s funds are being used and whether new money will be pledged to address the hunger crisis.

In reply, the Secretary of State says the funding package will be disbursed by March 2023 through three FCDO programmes. 

His letter says the UK Government will continue to use political influence to bring other stakeholders together to discuss the humanitarian situation. It does not refer to further funding to address the hunger crisis.

Significant increases in severe acute malnutrition have been observed across the whole Horn of Africa region, the partners reported.  Overall, nearly 7.5 million children under five are estimated to be affected, including 1.85 million who are facing the severest form of the condition.

Dr Asma Aweis, Medical Activity Manager at Bay Regional Hospital, Médicins Sans Frontières told the International Development Committee that there was need to invest adaptation and mitigation of climatic shocks. 

Child deaths have also risen. A recent assessment following the Gu rainy season in Somalia, from March to June, found under-five death rates exceeding two in 10,000 a day among four surveyed population groups.

More than 23.7 million people are facing daily problems in accessing water, thus increasing their vulnerability to water-borne diseases.  

The situation also forces women and children to travel long distances to fetch water, putting them at heightened risk of violence and exploitation.

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