Somalia’s new leader declares drought national disaster
In this photo taken Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017, malnourished baby Ali Hassan, 9-months-old, is held by his mother Fadumo Abdi Ibrahim, who fled the drought in southern Somalia, at a feeding center in a camp in Mogadishu, Somalia.
Thousands of desperate people are streaming into Somalia’s capital seeking food as a result a prolonged drought, overwhelming local and international aid agencies, while the Somali government warns of a looming famine, compounded by the country’s ongoing conflict against Islamic extremists.
(Farah Abdi Warsameh/Associated Press) MOGADISHU, Somalia — Somalia’s new president declared a national disaster Tuesday for a drought that threatens millions of people and is creating fears of a full-blown famine.
The statement from the office of President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed said he has appealed for help from the international community and Somalia’s diaspora of 2 million.
The United Nations humanitarian office estimates that 5 million people in Somalia, or nearly half the country’s population, need aid.
Because of a lack of clean water in many areas, there is the additional threat of cholera and other diseases, U.N. experts say.
The government earlier this month said the widespread hunger “makes people vulnerable to exploitation, human rights abuses and to criminal and terrorist networks.” The U.N. humanitarian appeal for 2017 for Somalia is $864 million to provide assistance to 3.9 million people.
But last month, the U.N. World Food Program requested an additional $26 million plan to respond to the drought.
All are connected by a thread of violent conflict, the U.N. chief said.
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