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Somalia: over 95,000 people receive aid in drought-stricken areas

10-06-2011 News Release 11/136

Nairobi (ICRC) – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has just completed a distribution of seed and tools in southern and central Somalia. Over 300 tonnes of maize, sorghum, cowpea and sesame seeds and nearly 800 tonnes of fertilizer were distributed in addition to 30,000 shovels, 30,000 hoes and 30,000 rakes to over 95,000 people in the provinces of Lower and Middle Juba, Gedo, Bay, Bakool, Hiraan, Lower and Middle Shabelle, Mudug and Galgaduud.

"The people we are helping faced near-total crop failure last season due to very poor rains," said Andrea Heath, the ICRC's economic-security coordinator for Somalia. "Because they had to use their savings or sell off assets to bridge the gap between the last harvest, in July and August of last year, and the current agricultural season, they could not afford to buy seed and tools for this season. Somalia is highly dependent on agriculture, so it is essential that farmers maintain their capacity to farm."

The severe drought that has gripped Somalia since October 2010 is having a devastating effect on a population already weakened by almost two decades of armed conflict. The ICRC is providing support for farmers to augment crop production. The aim is to safeguard their livelihood by giving them the chance to get back on their feet again.

The ICRC first began working in Somalia in 1977, when it responded to the crisis that arose when armed conflict erupted with Ethiopia. It has maintained a permanent presence in Somalia since 1982, with its delegation based in Nairobi since 1994.

For further information, please contact:
Yves Van Loo, ICRC Somalia, tel: +254 736 084 015
Anna Schaaf, ICRC Nairobi, tel: +254 722 512 728