WHO appeals for funding to save lives in Somalia

May 12, 2017

MOGADISHU - The UN World Health Organization (WHO) on Thursday appealed for additional funding from the international community to save lives and ease the suffering of millions of Somalis. 

The UN health agency said it was concerned by the chronic shortage of funding for life-saving work in Somalia in response to the ongoing drought that has plunged the country further towards famine, disease, and health insecurity. 
Peter Salama, WHO Executive Director for Emergencies said history has shown the terrible consequences of inaction, or action that comes too late. 

Salama said more than 250,000 people - half of them children - were lost as a result of the devastating famine of 2011. 
"This year, a much larger percentage of the population is now at risk. We will not stand by and watch millions of already vulnerable men, women, and children become victims of an avoidable catastrophe," he said. 

According to UN, drought in Somalia led to the destruction of crops and livestock, leaving more than 3.3 million people hungry every day. 

"If the current situation continues, famine could soon be a reality, creating a devastating cycle of hunger and disease as the health of people deteriorates and they become more susceptible to infection," WHO warned. 

WHO said drought has also led to lack of clean water and the largest outbreak of cholera Somalia has seen in the last five years, with more than 36 000 cases and almost 690 deaths so far in 2017 alone. 

"With the beginning of the expected rainy season and floods this month, these numbers are expected to increase to 50 000 cases by the end of June. Cases of measles are also on the rise, with nearly 6 500 cases reported this year, 71 percent of them children under the age of 5 years," WHO said. 

The UN agency whose statement coincides with the an international conference on Thursday to tackle Somalia's most urgent challenges, called on the international community to take decisive action to help avoid a humanitarian catastrophe. 

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