Bishop urges increased international help to tackle Somalia’s drought

Bishop urges increased international help to tackle Somalia’s drought.
“The Somali government, international community and Somali diaspora should map out the most affected areas and find the best way to respond to the immediate needs of local population,” Bertin told Catholic News Service on May 12.
The bishop’s comments followed the one-day London Somalia Conference on May 11, which brought heads of states from East Africa and key partners together in the British capital.
The conference focused on accelerating progress on security sector reforms and building new international partnerships to maintain the country’s course of recovery.
“I do believe that Somalia can be in the near future the kind of good news that we badly need in the international community and in our troubled world,” Antonio Guterres, United Nations secretary-general, told the conference.
Apart from the more than 6 million people – nearly half of Somalia’s population – needing humanitarian assistance, an estimated 275,000 malnourished children are at risk of starvation, according to aid and development agencies.
“We are distributing emergency food in six villages in Somaliland.
While stressing the role of the Somali diaspora in rebuilding their country, Bertin urged the lifting of restrictions on “hawala,” traditional money transfer agencies, to allow the Somalis worldwide to contribute to the aid effort.
“The international community should be able to distinguish between terrorists and good people, good organizations which need to transfer money,” Bertin said.
Fears abound that the transfer agencies may be used to fund the al-Shabab extremist group operating in Somalia.

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