Around 16,000 Somalis have been forced from their homes by severe flooding in the south of the strife-torn country, the United Nations humanitarian arm said today, while underscoring that a funding shortfall is hampering relief efforts.
The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that recent flooding has devastated areas of southern Somalia, damaging river embankments, collapsing latrines and contaminating shallow wells.
The forecast for the coming weeks predicts a moderate chance of further flooding, with OCHA devising a contingency plan to assist some 450,000 people in southern Somalia.
Despite the mounting humanitarian need in the Horn of Africa nation, there is a significant shortfall in funding for emergency relief efforts, stressed OCHA, noting that while the number of people needing aid had doubled, donations were down 40 per cent.
OCHA reported that to date, the Consolidated Appeal Process (CAP) for Somalia had received approximately $507 million, or 60 per cent of the $850 million requested for this year.
Somalia’s funding crisis also severely impacts the impoverished country’s health sector, which has only received 48 per cent of the $103 million it needs for 2009.
Within that amount, the World Health Organization (WHO) has requested almost $13 million, of which only $3.2 million – or less than a quarter – has been donated.
The lack of funding jeopardizes response to the many health risks in a country suffering from one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises, WHO spokesperson Paul Garwood told reporters in Geneva.
WHO’s latest update on Somalia noted the growing number of diseases the Somali population suffers, including diarrhoea, some cases of cholera, suspected measles and acute respiratory infections.