Somalia / by Alistair Galloway

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs launched a plan worth $864 million in aid and humanitarian response to the citizens of Somalia. The aid is aimed at alleviating famine warning signals for approximately 3.9 million Somalis in the face of worsening drought conditions. Peter de Clercq, the Deputy Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Somalia, called upon the international community to provide speedy responses in humanitarian aid. A delegation from the European Union visited Somalia to assess the conditions under which African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and Somali National Army (SNA) troops operate. They were notified of a need for additional weaponry to continue fighting the Al Shabaab threat. The Burundian Chief of Defence Forces, in his visit to Mogadishu, paid tribute to the Burundian troops serving under the African Union Mission and acknowledged their role in bringing about political security in Somalia. The British Secretary of State for International Development also visited Somalia and re-affirmed the United Kingdom’s commitment to Somali peace and security, and promised an additional $12 million in humanitarian aid to tackle drought conditions. Al-Shabaab continues to pose a constant threat in Somalia. Recently the group attacked a Kenyan military base in Somalia, claiming to have killed more than 50 soldiers. This claim was, however, refuted by a Kenyan military spokesperson. Al-Shabaab also took responsibility for a suicide bombing carried out at a major African Union base in the capital, which killed at least three Somali officials and damaged the nearby Hotel Peace. After several delays, Somalia is set to carry out its presidential election in February. In January, Somalia elected its speakers for the Upper House and the House of the People. Economically, Somalia is currently facing a drought severe to be trending for famine in 2017. Extreme drought in the Shabelle region has dried up the river in certain parts and has made agricultural activity difficult to carry out. There has also been an increase in cholera outbreaks, which has been cause for concern for the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Ministry of Health. Currently, several organisations are monitoring and treating cholera patients. The WHO plans to administer the cholera vaccine orally in the upcoming months to prevent further spread of the disease.

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