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International aid agency Concern Worldwide has today welcomed the 100-tonne consignment of humanitarian relief supplies from Irish Aid to Somalia and is to distribute the aid to 4,000 desperate families with immediate effect.
An airlift, worth over €600,000, landed in Mogadishu at lunchtime from the UN Humanitarian Response Depot in Dubai, where Irish Aid pre-positions relief supplies for use in emergencies and humanitarian crises under Ireland’s Rapid Response Initiative.
Staff members from Concern were on standby to distribute the first of two loads of supplies comprising blankets, jerry cans, cooking sets, family hygiene kits, tarpaulins and solar lamps to 4,000 families displaced by drought, acute hunger and conflict to informal settlements located outside of Mogadishu and Baidoa and in the Afgooye corridor. A second consignment is due to arrive on Friday.
Over 6 million people, more than half of the country’s population, are in urgent need of food assistance while an estimated 363,000 children under the age of five are acutely malnourished.
Regional Director for the Horn of Africa Feargal O’Connell welcomed today’s consignment to Somalia and heaped praise on the Irish government’s efforts in preventing the humanitarian crisis from escalating further in the impoverished country.
We are hugely grateful to Irish Aid for the 100-tonne consignment of non-food items, which will go a long way to supporting families who were forced to leave their homes with next to nothing and are now in need of shelter and other basic household items. Somalia is a country on the brink of famine and thousands of internally displaced people (IDPs) including women and children are arriving at camps daily, where Concern is working, in the hope of humanitarian assistance. The need for assistance is increasing every day. The rains are also coming, so this airlift has arrived at a crucial time when vulnerable families need shelter and safety the most.
The Irish government is playing its part in preventing a famine outbreak in the country. €11 million has already been pledged to the humanitarian crises in the Horn of Africa region, €3 million of which was contributed to the UN-managed Somalia Humanitarian Fund, so other members of the international community must step up their efforts to provide life-saving assistance to those most in need. Concern, working in close partnership with Irish Aid, will continue doing everything we can to contain and alleviate what is already a dire humanitarian catastrophe in Somalia and across East Africa.