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The President of Somalia calls on the world community to help avert famine

#President #Somalia #calls #world #community #avert #famine

Somalia’s newly elected President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud used his inaugural address on Thursday to appeal for international aid to stave off a famine threatening his drought-stricken country.

Aid agencies have warned of imminent famine as cases of severe child malnutrition rise in the troubled Horn of Africa nation, which is grappling with a record drought after four failed rainy seasons.

“There are fears that famine could hit some areas,” Mohamud said, urging “the diaspora and the world to play a role in saving our drought-affected people.”

“These conditions were caused by accumulated problems, including climate change, the destruction of our economic resources and the weakness of our governmental institutions. Therefore, my government will set up an environmental affairs agency,” he said.

Several calls for help have so far gone largely unnoticed, almost half the country’s population is starving and more than 200,000 people are at risk of starvation, the United Nations said on Monday.

The drought crisis has also hit Somalia’s neighbors Ethiopia and Kenya, whose presidents were among foreign leaders attending Thursday’s ceremony, held amid tight security at Mogadishu’s airport complex.

Mohamud – who previously served as president between 2012 and 2017 – not only has to deal with the threat of famine, but also faces a grinding Islamist insurgency in parts of the country, making humanitarian access a challenge.

In a sign of the ongoing threat, militants fired several mortar shells in neighborhoods near the airport in a night attack.

– promote unity –

A former academic and peace activist, Mohamud’s first tenure was marked by high-profile corruption scandals and political unrest, with two of his three prime ministers being forced to resign and two central bank governors resigning.

As the first Somali leader to win a second term, he has vowed to transform Somalia into “a peaceful country at peace with the world” and to repair the damage caused by months of political infighting at both the executive and political levels between states and the central government.

He vowed Thursday to promote “political stability through consultations, mutual support and unity between … the federal government and federal member states,” striking a contrasting tone to his confrontational predecessor, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, better known as Farmajo.

Somalia’s international partners have welcomed Mohamud’s election, and many hope it will end a long-running political crisis that has kept the government from fighting the al-Shabaab insurgency and the devastating drought.

The United Nations Mission in Somalia issued a statement on Twitter, saying it congratulated President HassanSMohamud on his inauguration today and looked forward to working with his government to help achieve national priorities.

Meanwhile, appeals for international aid have raised less than 20 percent of the money needed to avert a repeat of the 2011 famine in Somalia that killed 260,000 people – half of them children under the age of six.

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