The United Kingdom (UK) has earmarked £90 million in humanitarian aid to Somalia and Ethiopia. The funds are meant to ease the pinch of a biting drought that has hit the Horn of Africa region.
Somalia is to get two-thirds of the amount (£60 million) whiles Ethiopia gets the remaining £30 million. The aid package was announced by the UK’s Development Secretary, Priti Patel who was in Somalia on June 19 after visiting Ethiopia.
The donor package is expected to help more than 2 million people in desperate need of clean water, food, and basic medical supplies in the two countries. Nearly 16 million people in the Horn of Africa are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance as drought continues to ravage the region.
Of course the United Kingdom, we stand tall with the support we've been giving to Ethiopia and the work we've been doing with the Ethiopian government as well in terms of famine relief.
“The situation is terrible. We are in dire straits here in this location in Ethiopia. Which is why I have come here to really see the extent of the drought and the famine that Ethiopia has faced and of course Britain and the United Kingdom we stand tall with the support we’ve been giving to Ethiopia and the work we’ve been doing with the Ethiopian government as well in terms of famine relief,” Patel is quoted to have said during her Ethiopia visit.
The UK recently hosted an international conference on Somalia, the London Somalia Summit was organized under the auspices of the UK and the United Nations as part of efforts to put Somalia back of track.
The conference convened Heads of State and Government from across East Africa and other key partners, along with senior figures from international organisations to discuss mainly security and humanitarian assistance for the country. It was the third edition of the summit after two editions were held in 2012 and 2013.
Ethiopia also recently raised red flags over the depletion of its emergency food aid stocks which were due to run out by June 2017. The effect according to the government was that some 1.7 million people risked sliding into starvation if international donors did not come to their aid.
The UK’s donation will thus be seen as a timely intervention for Ethiopia – which enjoys relative stability and spiking economic gains as compared to Somalia.
Somalia is currently suffering from insurgency by the Al-Shabaab group plus piracy on its coast. The security constraints have been worsened by a humanitarian crisis that is threatening the lives of thousands. President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed Farmajo declared famine a national disaster few months back.
The current famine is affecting a larger part of the region and putting more people at risk. Hundreds of thousands have been displaced and within Somalia alone, seven hundred thousand people have so far been displaced with many of them mostly seeking refuge in Ethiopia.
Photo credit: Sebastian Fouquet