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U.N. Appeals for Humanitarian Funding For Somalia

UNITED NATIONS, Feb 18 2014 (IPS) - “We cannot give up on the people of Somalia, even as the world is overwhelmed by crises”, was the UN’s message for the international community.

Addressing a press briefing Tuesday, John Ging, Director of Operational Division at the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), spoke of the continuing efforts in the Horn of Africa.

Ging’s office reports that two million people in Somalia don’t have a secure source of food, following the 2011 famine in which 260,000 died, and the attempts of al Shabaab militants to maintain control in the country.

The conflict and the collapse of economic infrastructure leaves people impoverished, said Ging, and there’s no economy per se to get people out of that.

“The core of Somalia’s problems today, and for the last 25 years, has been conflict, and an incapacity for Somali leadership to provide the governments that the people deserve,” said Ging, who predicted that the Somali people and their own vision for the future will eventually overcome the current instability.

“I’m always humbled every time I go to Somalia, to see how in such appalling and uncivilized circumstances, people remain very civilized in their values – I’m talking about the ordinary people.
“But they’re weary – they’re weary of decades of impoverishment, of conflict, of despair, of hopelessness.”

Ging appealed for an increase in international funding, saying the OCHA has four per cent of the funding necessary to respond to hunger in Somalia.

“We cannot give up,” Ging said, pointing out that the global community has at times, such as 2011, failed those in need. “The Somali people deserve that we don’t give up, however enormous the challenge might be.”

The director said that as a humanitarian, his organization believes there are resources enough among a wealthy international community, to save lives.

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