WFP seeks $12 million dollars for El Nino mitigation in Somalia

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The UN World Food Programme (WFP) has said it requires U.S. $12 million dollars to help it mitigate effects of El Nino phenomenon in Somalia.

The UN agency said in its latest report that between 500,000-900,000 people are likely to be affected by the El Nino floods in low lying areas of the southern and central parts of Somalia.

“WFP has pre-positioned logistical assets, such as helicopter and boats in strategic locations to complement the existing logistical footprint,” the agency said in the report.

The heavy rains have destroyed several makeshift shelters, latrines and swept away belongings for thousands of people across the Horn of Africa nation.

About 200,000 people are expected to be assisted by the WFP, the report says, noting that total resource needs for immediate El Nino response up tot the end of this year is 16 million dollars but only 4 million dollars has so far been received,

“WFP is facing shortfalls of over 84 million dollars through March 2016 and has been forced to significantly reduce its assistance by cutting rations and suspending activities,” it said.

The UN agency said the new emergency caseloads are of a magnitude that the operation will not be able to accommodate with current resources.

“The food security and nutrition situation in Somalia continues to be extremely fragile; 855,000 people ar acutely food insecure and require assistance and an estimated 214,700 children under the age of five are acutely malnourished,” WFP said.

Overall, 3.2 million people are in need of life-saving and livelihood support.

The UN agencies recently ramped up efforts to mitigate the impact of floods and droughts in Somalia driven by the El Nino phenomenon until December, which may worsen the food security and humanitarian situations.

In Somalia, a country which is still recovering from a catastrophic famine, large scale flooding will have a devastating impact and lead to a further deterioration of the fragile food security and nutrition situation.

According to the UN, light rains spread across many southern and central parts of Somalia are expected in the next three days.

The northern parts of the country are expected to receive moderate rains over the same period, with few pockets in Togdheer and Bari regions experiencing high rainfall of up to 100mm which can lead to flash floods.

The upper catchment of the Shabelle River in Ethiopia will receive high rains as well, which translates to increase in river levels later in the week.

El Nino could cause devastating effects in Somalia, such as heavy rains and flooding along Juba and Shabelle rivers, flash floods in central Somalia and Puntland, and worsening droughts in parts of Somaliland, which will put over 600,000 people at risk, according to UN.

These impacts, however, might be severe for the vulnerable communities already facing dire humanitarian situations in Somalia. Over 3 million people need humanitarian assistance, 1.1 million of whom are internally displaced.

The report says previous El Nino events have caused massive flooding in Somalia.

Some 900,000 people were affected in 1997-98 and over 440,000 people were affected in 2006-7.

The effects this year could extend several months into 2016.

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