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Somalia: emergency relief for over a million people

04-08-2011 News Release 160/11

Geneva/Nairobi (ICRC) – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is scaling up its emergency operation in central and southern Somalia to assist an additional 1.1 million drought- and conflict-affected people.

The organization is asking donors for 67 million Swiss francs in additional funding, bringing its total 2011 budget for Somalia to over 120 million francs (more than 155 million US dollars).

"The move comes in response to a situation that is becoming ever more desperate," said Jakob Kellenberger, the president of the ICRC. "Hundreds of thousands of Somalis face life-threatening food and water shortages." The situation is the result of 20 years of armed conflict compounded by severe drought. The effects of previous dry spells, high inflation and the worldwide rise in food and fuel prices have further aggravated the long-standing crisis since the beginning of the year.

"In the central and southern parts of the country especially, where only a small number of humanitarian organizations are present on the ground, the need for aid cannot be overstated," said Mr Kellenberger. "Despite the difficulty of operating in one of the most conflict-riven countries in the world, we cannot let people down. We are confident that we can deliver assistance successfully, in close cooperation with our partners from the Somali Red Crescent."

The ICRC is active in all provinces of central and southern Somalia and able to carry out large-scale distributions. The budget extension will enable the ICRC to further expand its therapeutic feeding programmes and its food distributions to help people get by during the extremely difficult period until the next harvest in December. Some 49,000 malnourished children and 24,000 pregnant and lactating women will benefit from the supplementary and the therapeutic feeding programmes.

"A first round of food distributions completed this week by the ICRC covers the needs of 162,000 people in central and southern Somalia for the coming month," said Mr Kellenberger. "The distributions were carried out as planned and without delay." In addition, the ICRC and the Somali Red Crescent have started to expand services in existing outpatient therapeutic feeding centres and health-care facilities. In central and southern Somalia, the ICRC has provided over 250,000 people with household essentials and made clean water available for 400,000 people since April.

Food distributions constitute an emergency response to the most urgent needs. They are complemented by sustainable aid aimed at enabling the population to carry on their livelihoods with no outside help. Examples are the upgrading of wells and boreholes, irrigation schemes and other cash-for-work infrastructure projects to reduce farmers' vulnerability to extreme weather conditions.

For further information, please contact:
Anna Schaaf, ICRC Nairobi, tel: +254 722 512 728
Nicole Engelbrecht, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 22 71 or +41 79 217 32 17


Photos

Baidoa, Bay region, Somalia.  Displaced people wait for food distribution to start. 

Baidoa, Bay region, Somalia. Displaced people wait for food distribution to start.
© ICRC

Bullo Fulay, Somalia. A volunteer from the Somali Red Crescent Society explains the allocation per household. 

Bullo Fulay, Somalia. A volunteer from the Somali Red Crescent Society explains the allocation per household.
© ICRC

Baidoa, Bay region, Somalia. Staff distribute food to displaced people affected by drought and armed violence. 

Baidoa, Bay region, Somalia. Staff distribute food to displaced people affected by drought and armed violence.
© ICRC / v-p-so-e-00534