More than 3 million Somalis will need humanitarian aid in 2009 - UN

Other News Materials 7 February 2009 01:07 (UTC +04:00)

More than three million people in Somalia, a third or more of the nation's total population, will remain dependent on humanitarian assistance this year, according to a United Nations analysis on Friday.

So far this year, the UN World Food Program (WFP) has handed out 34,000 tons of food to some 3.4 million people every month, according to the assessment by the UN Food Security Analysis Unit (FSAU) on the strife-torn country, which has been riven by factional fighting and has not had a functioning central government since 1991.

There is new hope amid the recent election of Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, as the new president, who is expected to appoint a prime minister and form a government of national unity in the coming days, in a bid to bring stability to the country, Xinhua reported.

The UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), for its part, is working to create a permanent sustainable water system. UNICEF and the UN World Health Organization (WHO) are helping to protect some 1.5 million children aged five and under against preventable and water- borne diseases.

Meanwhile, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has reported that only 18 percent of funds needed for humanitarian work in the Horn of Africa country has been disbursed.

Providing consistent aid to Somalia will remain a major challenge, a situation certain to worsen now that the European Commission has pulled out from among the top donors, it added.