7 March 2017 – Visiting Somalia, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres today urged international support to avoid a famine in the drought-hit African country and curb the spread of cholera while also highlighting some hopeful developments there.
“It is exactly because it is tragic and because it is hopeful that it makes sense to make a very strong appeal to the international community to support Somalia at the present moment,” Mr. Guterres told reporters in the country’s capital, Mogadishu.
With almost half of the Somali population in need of assistance, including 330,000 children who are acutely malnourished, the UN chief reiterated an appeal for $825 million for the support of 5.5 million people for six months.
“There is a chance in Somalia to avoid a situation like the one we had in 2011,” he said, referring to the previous famine that killed many in that country.
He said that 3.3 million people are in need of health support and that cholera has been developing and making hunger even worse and more dangerous. In the last two months, there were 7,731 cases of cholera with 183 people dying. Just last week, there were 1,352 cases of cholera and 38 people dying. “It’s a process in acceleration,” he warned.
But now is also “a moment of hope” because Somalia is turning the page, with a new President elected and a new Prime Minister appointed, he said.
“There is a very strong commitment to enhance security and at the same time to enhance the capacity of the government to start to provide effective services to the population,” he said.
The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), which is doing a job that the world should be grateful for because it is not only protecting Somalis, but protecting all against terrorism, has not been effectively helped by the international community, he said.