“Fighting in Somalia, restrictions on supply flights, international support staff as well as administrative hurdles have all contributed to the current hardship faced by the Somali population today,” said Unni Karunakara, International President of MSF. “It is essential that both restrictions and obstacles to humanitarian aid be removed as the situation continues to worsen.”
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They have decided to donate all monies raised to directly support the work of Médecins Sans Frontières in the Dadaab refugee camp. An anonymous donor has volunteered $5,000 in matching funds.
The humanitarian crisis from famine due to drought is worsening and being hindered in Somalia due to the the lack of safety and aid being blocked by Islamic extremists. Us laws that prohibit nongovernmental aid organizations from receiving any US assistance if they try to negotiate with the rebels, has further hindered aid to nearly 3 million who are at risk of death from starvation.
The US development agency USAid said the $28m (£17m) it pledged to Somalia this week would target areas hardest hit by the drought. But, given the strength of feeling the Americans have towards al-Shabaab – it’s on a list of terrorist organisations – and the fact that it controls the two areas of Somalia the UN declared to be famine zones, Bakool and Lower Shabelle, it is difficult to see how those most in need will benefit from the money.
Donald Steinberg, deputy administrator of USAid, said on Wednesday that America needed assurances from the UN that al-Shabaab would not restrict delivery of US-funded aid in rebel areas before it would allow its aid to be delivered.
Immediate lifesaving help now needed by 3.2 million people in south of the country
The UN has declared three new regions in Somalia as famine zones, including the refugee camps in the capital Mogadishu.
The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation said famine is likely to spread across all regions of the south of the country in the next four to six weeks, and persist until December. Out of a population of 7.5 million, 3.2 million are in need of immediate lifesaving assistance in its worst drought in 60 years, but aid supply is difficult because al-Qaida linked militants control much of Somalia’s most desperate areas.