Security Council briefing on the humanitarian situation in Somalia

Funding received so far this year helped us reach over 1 million people with food and livelihoods assistance, and 97,000 children were treated for malnutrition. Water and sanitation interventions supported 400,000 people and 500,000 people benefited from basic health services. A massive and well-coordinated vaccination campaign targeting 4 million people in 2013 managed to contain the polio outbreak of that year.
Unfortunately, one case was confirmed today in Puntland.
Mr. President,
Humanitarian workers in Somalia continue to face tremendous challenges in carrying out their work.
Large parts of southern and central Somalia, mainly rural areas and outskirts of the main towns, remain under the control or influence of Al Shabaab. Al Shabaab’s ability to disrupt and infiltrate areas under the control of the Somali Federal Government continues to hamper aid delivery, and in some instances has forced agencies to resort to costly air operations. Al Shabaab have carried out bold and targeted attacks on Government officials, international organizations and humanitarian workers. This is of grave concern, and we are working to enhance measures to mitigate threats against aid workers.
Unpredictable bureaucratic impediments imposed by local and regional administrations, including arbitrary taxation, payment of registration fees, and the need for aid agencies to seek approval for recruitment of staff, renting of premises and choice of national partners often inhibit the ability of agencies to access people in need.
Despite the commitment of the international community to avert another humanitarian disaster in Somalia, financial support is especially low this year. Only 19 per cent of the US$933 million humanitarian appeal is funded.
Some donors have announced a decrease of their contribution in 2014 and we expect this will continue into 2015. Remittances, another lifeline for millions of Somalis, are at risk as banks continue to threaten to close Somali Money Transfer Organisations as they are seen as a high risk for illegal activities.
This limited funding has forced the humanitarian community to cut back on all but the most basic of interventions. There is great risk that the gains made in the past years will be reversed. For instance, if funding is not secured immediately, UNICEF may
suspend primary healthcare activities that provide medical services to more than 3 million people. UNICEF has also warned that 50,000 children under the age of five could die from severe malnutrition if funding is not received. Water and sanitation supplies to some IDP settlements in Mogadishu have ceased because of lack of funding, and we are receiving reports of increased Acute Watery Diarrhea in these areas.
Mr. President,
Somalia remains one of the most complex environments in which to deliver assistance. However, to the extent possible, humanitarian partners are managing rather than avoiding risk, in order to be able to continue to deliver critical, life-saving programmes.
Assistance continues to be delivered through local partners in many parts of Somalia where agencies are not able to operate directly. In limited instances, there have been cases of diversion. However, thanks to the UN’s Risk Management Unit, and other monitoring systems, we are now better able to detect risks, evaluate the capacity of our local partners and track programs, with stronger reporting and auditing tools.
Mr. President,
Urgent action must be taken to prevent the country from slipping back into a major humanitarian crisis.
Early warnings must trigger early action so that Somalia moves towards and not away from food security; that it remains polio-free; and that the resilience of the people is reinforced.
We are asking for an immediate injection of $60 million for the next three months to address urgent food, nutrition and healthcare needs.
I also ask Security Council Members:
• To continue hosting Somali asylum seekers, refugees, and migrants and ensure their protection and safety.
• To ensure that refugee returns are voluntary and conducted in a safe and dignified manner.
• To help us secure additional funding.
• To work with banks and Somali Money Transfer Operators to put in place a transitional mechanism until a proper financial system is established.
• To support ongoing humanitarian initiatives that contribute to predictable, safe and sustained access to affected people.
We need to work together to manage and share the risks involved in continued humanitarian operations.
Failure to address humanitarian needs today will not only undermine the peace and state building gains of the last two years but will also lead to further crises. We do not want to see a repeat of 2011 when parts of Somalia faced a famine.
Somalia must