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Estonia Helping Somalian Residents Suffering From Famine

26.07.2011

The Foreign Ministry is donating humanitarian aid in the sum of 80 000 euros through the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to help Somalian refugees and internally displaced persons suffering from famine. The UN estimates that as a result of the worst drought in 60 years and the armed conflict that remains ongoing, there are 11.5 million people in this area of Africa who need humanitarian aid to survive.

Foreign Minister Urmas Paet stated that the humanitarian situation in Somalia, especially the southern part of the country, is extremely dire. As a result of the very complicated humanitarian situation, on 20 July the UN declared a state of famine in Bakool and Lower Shabelle in southern Somalia. “Due to the famine, half of Somalia’s population or 3.7 million people need help. Every third child in southern Somalia is suffering from malnutrition and children are dying of starvation every day. Predictions say that in two months the famine will affect all of southern Somalia. There are also many people in need of aid in neighbouring countries like Kenya, Ethiopia, and Djibouti,” added Foreign Minister Paet.

The last time the UN declared a famine was 19 years ago, which means this is an extraordinary situation. The UNHCR needs an additional 95 million euros for its activities in order to prevent a complete humanitarian disaster in Somalia. They are also helping those affected by the famine to flee to Kenya, Ethiopia, and Djibouti. Currently the UNHCR, in co-operation with local partners, has distributed aid packets containing basic items necessary for sleeping and preparing food to nearly 90 000 people in Mogadishu, Belet Hawa, and Dobley in south-west Somalia. Distribution of aid to almost 126 000 people will continue this week in the areas of Gedo, Lower Juba, and Lower Shabelle.

The situation in Somalia’s neighbouring countries is complicated by the increasing flow of refugees from Somalia. Since the beginning of the year over 166 000 Somalians have fled to Kenya, Ethiopia, and Djibouti in search of food. The largest refugee camp located in Dadaab, Kenya is already populated by 385 000 refugees, most of whom are women and children.

Humanitarian aid organisations lack the resources to help these people. Over 200 million euros will be needed over the course of the next two months to handle the situation.


SPOKESPERSON’S OFFICE
+372 637 7654
pressitalitus@mfa.ee

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