UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, visited Somalia on Tuesday — his first field trip since he took office in January — and said that the situation in the country was both tragic and regrettable.
Hence, he is calling for urgent aid for Somalia to avert a catastrophe worse than the famine that claimed 260,000 in 2011. “It’s impossible to describe. It’s the suffering of the people, every single person we have seen had a personal story of tremendous suffering.
“There’s no way to describe it,” he told journalists at Liiban camp in Baidoa after meeting the internally displaced people.”
Mr Guterres later visited cholera patients and severely malnourished children at Bay Regional Hospital.
Cholera has so far claimed the lives of 25 people at the hospital. Seventy-three cholera patients were admitted at the hospital, while 2,340 were being treated as outpatients.
It should be noted that he had earlier, met with Somalia’s President Mohammed Abdulahi Farmaajo in Mogadishu and appealed for $825 million humanitarian support for the country.
“The combination of drought, conflict and disease outbreak calls for massive support,” Mr Guterres told journalists. President Farmaajo said his first priority was to address the drought crisis to avert a famine.
“Second is to deal with the security situation. Al-Shabaab and other terrorists organisations are an impediment to progress. We need to rebuild the Somalia National Army, ” he said.
More than a half of Somalia’s population is in need of food aid. This is further complicated by insecurity as humanitarian agencies cannot reach the affected people. About 200,000 people have moved to makeshift camps.
The UN requires $825 million for life-saving initiatives between March and June this year. “It makes me feel extremely unhappy. With the amount of wealth in the world, that such scenes are still possible,” he said at an IDP camp.