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UN: Invest in Somalia to break cycle of crisis

15 July 2013, 14:31 Chrispinus Omar

Nairobi - The UN humanitarian agency has called for increased investment in Somalia to help break a circle of crisis in the Horn of Africa nation.

John Ging, Director of Operations in the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said the needs are still huge despite gradual improvements in the humanitarian situation in Somalia.

"I call on the international community to invest now to build the resilience of Somalis and stop the cycle of crisis they have endured for far too long," Ging said in a statement received on Saturday at the end of a two-day visit to Kenya and Somalia.

Ging, who ended his two-day visit to the two nations on Friday evening, also condemned the senseless deadly attack on the UN Common Compound in Mogadishu on June 19.

"My heart goes out to the families and friends of those who lost their lives defending UN staff courageously," said Ging after visiting the UN compound in Mogadishu. "Their heroism and sacrifice will not be forgotten."

Among those killed were one international staff member, three contractors and four Somali security guards. Several Somali civilians were also wounded and killed outside the compound.

"The day after the attack on the UN compound, humanitarian workers were back out there implementing an emergency vaccination campaign against polio," Ging said.

"Their commitment to ending humanitarian suffering in all areas of Somalia is unwavering."

According to OCHA, about 1 million people in Somalia urgently require humanitarian assistance and a further 1.7 million need sustained support to avoid falling back into crisis.

In addition, one in seven children in Somalia is malnourished and polio has recently re-emerged after more than six years without a reported case. But the Somalia Humanitarian Appeal for 2013 is just 33 per cent funded.

While in Mogadishu, Ging met Somali government officials, UN and AMISOM leadership, humanitarian partners and the donor community during his visit.

He called on all those with influence to redouble their efforts to provide a safe working environment for humanitarians and expressed his deepest respect and appreciation for the continued dedication of humanitarian aid workers in Somalia to reach all those in need, despite the risks.

"We must not forget that just 18 months before the 2011 famine, which killed 260,000 people, Somalia had seen good rains and harvests," Ging said.

"We cannot be complacent and we must not undermine the fragile gains that have been made since the famine. I call on the international community to invest now to build the resilience of Somalis and stop the cycle of crisis they have endured for far too long."

After decades of factional fighting, the Horn of Africa nation has been undergoing a peace and national reconciliation process, with a series of landmark steps that have helped bring an end to the country's nine-year political transition period and the resulting security vacuum which rendered Somalia one of the most lawless states on the planet.

These steps included the adoption of a Provisional Constitution, the establishment of a new Parliament and the appointments of a new president and a new prime minister. 



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