UN pledges to step up humanitarian support to Somalia in 2021

MOGADISHU, Jan. 27 (Xinhua) -- The UN said on Wednesday it will step up humanitarian support to Somalia in 2021 in order to achieve a stable, peaceful and prosperous society.

Adam Abdelmoula, humanitarian coordinator for Somalia said the Horn of Africa nation began this New Year with a number of similar challenges that afflicted it in 2020.

Abdelmoula said the so-called "triple shock" of climate change, conflict, and the COVID-19 pandemic will worsen humanitarian needs this year.

"The factors that went into the triple shock have not gone away. In fact, they will exacerbate humanitarian needs this year. With our partners, we will need to step up these efforts in reaching the most vulnerable people affected," he told a virtual press conference in Mogadishu.

According to the UN relief agency, more than five million people are in need of aid through 2021 in Somalia because of climatic shocks, including floods and locust infestation, armed conflict and insecurity amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Abdelmoula said when Cyclone Gati struck in November 2020, 120,000 people were affected in Puntland in northern Somalia as people lost their homes and livelihoods, all of which had a knock-on effect on their health and well-being.

He added that the desert locust infestation has affected almost 700,000 people and close to 300,000 hectares of land across Somalia.

"We have so far provided support to about 25,900 farming households and sprayed more than 110,000 hectares of land with biopesticides," Abdelmoula said.

On the COVID-19 response, the UN official said, Somalia has a fragile health system that is still developing.

Abdelmoula said the UN was able to buttress the government's health machinery with testing laboratories, specialized isolation centers, the training of more than 5,000 frontline health workers, and the distribution of thousands of PPE sets.

"All of these steps have also had a longer-term impact. They have helped build and reinforce the health system - both improving the health of Somalis and helping train health ministry and medical personnel for the longer-term," he said.

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