Drought emergency: Italian commitment against famine

“A historic drought is ravaging our country, and as hunger increases, I fear the toll the famine could take on our already disappearing rural communities.” The alarm sounded by Abdirahman Abdishakur, Somalia’s Special Envoy for drought response, was the focus of a meeting organized by AICS Somalia on Sept. 13 to discuss initiatives that Italian cooperation can put in place to respond to the severe famine under way in parts of the country, especially in the Bay region, after four consecutive seasons of poor rains. The Government of the Federal Republic of Somalia declared a state of emergency in November 2021.

Ayan Harare and Abdihakin Ainte, advisors to the Special Envoy, met in Nairobi with representatives of nine Italian NGOs (AVSI, CEFA, CESVI, CISP, COOPI, GRT, Terre solidali, and, at a distance, Emergenza Sorrisi and Madre Cura Bambini) who outlined the emergency interventions underway with AID 12255 (€3.8 million). Santa Molè, director of AICS Somalia, presented an overview of the projects funded by the Italian Cooperation and announced the launch of a new €3 million emergency intervention by the end of 2022.

“It is urgent to save lives, but long-term investments are essential: we need help to adapt to this new climate reality. Unless the resilience of our people is strengthened, the impact of an unpredictable extreme climate will continue to require billions of dollars in assistance every year,” the two Special Envoy representatives explained, outlining the priorities of the new Somali government’s agenda: humanitarian aid, now, but also structural investments to ensure stable access to clean and safe water.

“Italy is strongly committed on water” Molè assured, citing the master plan for water supply in Beledweyne, the rehabilitation of wells and irrigation canals in Puntland, and the expansion of the Bosasso aqueduct. “AICS’s goal is to ensure equitable and sustainable access to water for all by promoting virtuous resource management and the introduction of consumption tariffs for the poor.”

 

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