More than 3 million Somalis will need humanitarian aid in 2009, UN reports

6 February 2009

More than three million people in Somalia, a third or more of the total population, will remain dependent on humanitarian assistance this year, according to a United Nations analysis.

So far this year, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) has handed out 34,000 tons of food to some 3.4 million people every month, according to the assessment by the UN Food Security Analysis Unit (FSAU) on the strife-torn country, which has been riven by factional fighting and has not had a functioning central government since 1991.

There is new hope amid the recent election of the new President, Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, who is expected to appoint a prime minister and form a government of national unity in the coming days, in a bid to bring stability to the country.

The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), for its part, is working to create a permanent sustainable water system. UNICEF and the UN World Health Organization (WHO) are helping to protect some 1.5 million children aged five and under against preventable and water-borne diseases.

Meanwhile, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has reported that only 18 per cent of funds needed for humanitarian work in the Horn of Africa country has been disbursed.


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