Top UN humanitarian official in Somalia warns ‘we are not out of the woods yet’ on drought

By Asad Cabdullahi Mataan

After meeting with  security, humanitarian and government officials – including Puntland President Abdiweli Mohamed Ali Gaas- in Puntland, the top United Nations humanitarian official in Somalia has warned Somalia to remain vigilant against the threat of drought while commending the relief effort in 2017.

“We took stock, together with [Puntland’s] leadership, of the drought response as it has been so far, looking back to what has been a good year in terms of close cooperation and a very successful drought relief effort,” the UN’s Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, Peter de Clercq, said in Puntland’s capital, Garowe, on Saturday.

“At the same time, we talked about the remaining challenges because we are not out of the woods yet by any stretch of the imagination,” he added.

In 2017, drought-related famine was averted through the efforts of Somalis and their international partners. However, the risk is not yet overcome as there are 5.4 million people in Somalia needing life-saving humanitarian assistance

Mr. de Clercq – who also serves as the Secretary-General’s Deputy Special Representative for Somalia and the UN Resident Coordinator – was in the Garowe on Saturday meeting with humanitarian and security officials to discuss cooperation on drought response in the region, especially in the difficult to reach area’s.

“The situation is very serious, particularly in Sool and Sanaag. And we have talked about how we can best reach the people in Sool and Sanaag in terms of providing them with the assistance that they deserve that will keep them from being affected by this drought and possibly falling into famine. And we are hopeful that there will be a way forward on this,” Mr. de Clercq said.

Source: Hol