SA donates millions for humanitarian relief in Somalia

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The South African government on Tuesday announced it has donated R7 million to the United Nations’ World Food Program (WFP) humanitarian response for Somalia, following a prolonged drought.

The funds will go towards providing life saving assistance to vulnerable communities in the Horn of Africa nation. South Africa’s Director for Humanitarian affairs Martin Seleka handed over the donation to the WFP and officials from the Somali government in Mogadishu.

The United Nations estimates that 6.2 million people in Somalia, that is half of the country’s population are in dire need of food assistance due to an on-going drought.

“It is anchored into decades of fragility, early through conflict and thereafter through droughts that have affected the country” says country director at WFP Somalia, Laurent Bukera.

Unlike in 2011, this time the drought has not deteriorated to a famine situation due to a fast response and better access for aid workers to affected areas.

Somalia’s State minister Abdullahi Hamud says help is needed as soon as possible. “Humanitarian aid if made available early and if sustained works and can help prevent dire situation.”

At the beginning of this year, Somalia through the UN made an appeal for $1.6 Billion to help avert a humanitarian crisis. South Africa has responded with a cash donation of R7 million.  The funds will go towards providing food assistance to those in need.

South African Humanitarian Affairs director, Martin Seleka says they are led by a codes of ethics. “What guides us is the spirit of Ubuntu and the indomitable spirit of Pan Africanism.”

The drought which has spread over four consecutive poor rain season has forced millions out of their homes. Worst affected are children and women.

South Africa says it will work with the Somali government to find lasting solution to food insecurity in the horn of Africa nation.

Hamud added that they could learn a lot from South Africa. “The know how that South Africa has is something that Somalia coud learn from.”

To reach those in areas that humanitarian aid workers cannot access, the World Food Program has introduced a cash transfer system.

“Access to the population using the digital voucher allows us to reach them with excat entitlement that they need to have a life, that is much less visible, much less bulky than the traditional food assistance” said Bureka

WFP has distributed $150M to at least 3 Million people.