The Somalia Humanitarian Fund (SHF), a multi-donor country-based pooled mechanism that allocates funding for the most urgent life-saving interventions, has endorsed 26 million U.S. dollars for humanitarian response in the country.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), which manages the fund, said Wednesday that the reserve allocation will focus on areas with acute water shortages brought about by prolonged drought, as well as on flood-affected populations in hotspot locations in south-central Somalia.
“The allocation will provide strategic support to selected cluster-specific priorities (17 million dollars) and integrated interventions (9 million dollars),” OCHA said in its latest humanitarian bulletin.
It warned a spike in humanitarian needs is expected in Somalia amid the largest funding shortfall in six years.
Rainfall deficits range up to 100 mm or more in key crop-producing regions, including Lower and Middle Shabelle, Lower and Middle Juba, Bay, and Bakool in the southern part of the country.
OCHA said close to two-thirds of the 26 million dollars will back priority activities in food security, health, nutrition and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) clusters.
“Prioritized activities will help address food insecurity in Jubaland and Hirshabelle States through the supply of agricultural inputs including seeds, farming tools, and irrigation support, as well as improve immediate access to food through provision of cash and vouchers,” it said.
The UN agency said the combined effect of COVID-19 has led to reduced household access to food and income and populations face major food consumption gaps. And extreme levels of acute food insecurity already persist in many regions and in the absence of humanitarian assistance, it is expected that many pastoralists in worst-affected areas could be forced to sell their remaining livestock to purchase cereals, resulting in higher levels of pastoral destitution.
The release of the funds comes after Somalia on Aug. 1 appealed to the international community to provide urgent life-saving assistance to 5.9 million people who require humanitarian aid in 2021.