NEW YORK, July 15, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ – OCHA Operations Director John Ging paid tribute to humanitarian workers in Somalia and called for greater investment to break the cycle of crisis in the country at the end of a two-day visit to Mogadishu and Nairobi on Friday.
Mr. Ging condemned the senseless loss of life caused by the attack on the UN Common Compound in Mogadishu on 19 June 2013.
“My heart goes out to the families and friends of those who lost their lives defending UN staff courageously,” said Mr. Ging after visiting the UN compound in Mogadishu. “Their heroism and sacrifice will not be forgotten.”
Mr. Ging met Somali Government officials, UN and AMISOM leadership, humanitarian partners and the donor community during his visit. He called on all those with influence to redouble their efforts to provide a safe working environment for humanitarians and expressed his deepest respect and appreciation for the continued dedication of humanitarian aid workers in Somalia to reach all those in need, despite the risks.
“The day after the attack on the UN compound, humanitarian workers were back out there implementing an emergency vaccination campaign against polio,” said Mr. Ging. “Their commitment to ending humanitarian suffering in all areas of Somalia is unwavering.”
Despite gradual improvements in the humanitarian situation in Somalia, the needs remain immense. An estimated 1 million people urgently require humanitarian assistance and a further 1.7 million need sustained support to avoid falling back into crisis. One in seven children in Somalia is malnourished and polio has recently reemerged after more than six years without a reported case. But the Somalia Humanitarian Appeal for 2013 is just 33 per cent funded.
“We must not forget that just 18 months before the 2011 famine, which killed 260,000 people, Somalia had seen good rains and harvests,” said Mr. Ging. “We cannot be complacent and we must not undermine the fragile gains that have been made since the famine. I call on the international community to invest now to build the resilience of Somalis and stop the cycle of crisis they have endured for far too long.”