As a team led by the deputy UN Humanitarian Coordinator Somalia parleys government and partner organizations in Hargeisa
By: Yusuf M Hasan
Somalilandsun- In our work strategies dictate that Humanitarian support be availed to people according to need rather than country of origin.
This was stated by the UN deputy Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia Mr Vincent Lelei during a press briefing in Hargeisa where he also revealed that the donor response towards drought relief appeal is now $1.5 billions.
“I thank the donor community for their response that has surpassed the initial $900,000 made” said the OCHA deputy chief adding that most impressive was the response by Somaliland citizens from all walks of life who spared no efforts towards contribution.
Acknowledging that Somaliland is not yet out of the woods as pertains the most severe drought to engulf Not only the country but almost entire region as well Mr Lelei said that the projected recovery has been constrained by the GU rains “that were not only inadequate but came late and finished early”
In this context the anticipated recovery of livestock, grazing lands, farmlands and livelihoods in general shall not be possible by year end.
Guided by this knowledge deliberations that the visiting UN Office for coordination of humanitarian Affairs-OCHA led by Mr Lelei with Somaliland government officials, L&INGOs as well as other UN agencies dwelt of the way forward as pertains continued assistance to affected persons more those displaced by the drought.
“My first meeting in Hargeisa was with International and Local Non governmental organizations as well as other UN agencies we partner in response to Drought relief assistance in Somaliland” Said the OCHA Somalia Deputy chief adding that it was unanimously concurred on the imperatives of continued humanitarian services rather than recovery.
Revealing that constructive deliberations also ensued during and from meetings with Somaliland government officials that included one with Vice President Abdirahman Abdilahi Sayli in which the inadequacy of the GU rains led to acceptance on Facebook s pertaining to continued humanitarian assistance of drought victims rather than implementing recovery.
The OCHA delegation which later met with the ministry of planning and national coordination, which is its line ministry agreed to align humanitarian activities to the Somaliland development plan.
According to Mr Lelei the strategies set forth in the Somaliland development plan compliment those of OCHA aptly.“At the planning ministry meeting where my team parlayed the Deputy minister it was revealed that the Somaliland national development plan shall be released at the end of this month more specifically the 29th July 2017”
Since the forthcoming national plan puts forth strategies similar to those of OCHA and partners more so as pertains to voluntary return of IDPs, Livestock restocking and subsequent poverty alleviation, all activities by donor agencies shall align with that of the government in Hargeisa.
As per the status of IDPs plans, are for their voluntary return back to their original homes but according to OCHA this needs to be done while availing dignity to the victims.
“For voluntary choice of return to areas of original and traditional habitation to happen in a dignified manner, there is need for them to only to have the will but required capacity to do that as well” said Lelei
Currently OCHA and its partners including the Somaliland administration has so far as from Jan- July 2017 provided human assistance in the form of cash transfer to 800,000 drought victims in the country.
“Another 500,000 families are continuing to receive humanitarian support on a regular basis” as per the partnership
Read: Somaliland: Uba a 14 Years Old Climate Change Induced Mother
Considering that over 65% of livestock, the country’s main economic stay has perished as a result of the drought the post humanitarian strategy in place revolves around not only support but geared towards resilience and early recovery.
Queried on the issue of the amount of drought humanitarian support channeled to Somaliland Vis ‘a’ Vis Somalia, the OCHA deputy chief said that humanitarian principles negate such revelation since assistance is availed as per need rather than place or country of the needy’s origin.
On the voluntary return of IDPs which is a touchy issue owing to the fact that the Non recognition of Somaliland as a sovereign nation ensues with persons fleeing neighbouring Somalia either seeking political asylum, due to insecurity or as a result of natural disasters like drought etc are recognized by the international community not as refugees but as IDPs, it was informed that OCHAs operations are only humanitarian and not political
Read: Somaliland: Drought Heightens Pregnancy and Childbirth Risks
THOUGH THAT STATED IT REMAINS AMBIGUOUS ON HOW FUNDS ALLOCATED FOR INTERNALLY DISPLACED SOMALILANDERS END UP BEING UTILIZED ON THOSE FROM SOMALIA WHILE FUNDS ALLOCATED FOR SIMILAR PURPOSES IN THE NEIGHBOURING COUNTRY DO NOT RECIPROCATE
Queried on the international organizations humanitarian response coordination centres established in three Somalia cities but nowhere in Somaliland, Mr Vincent Lelei said
“First let me me acknowledge that three centres have been established in Baidoa, Mogadishu and Garowe and yes nowhere in Somaliland”
The three centres are said to have the objective of facilitating Concerted situation analysis ,planning and implementation of humanitarian responses by international and local partners.
According to the OCHA Somalia deputy chief the choice of the three venues emanates from the status of Somalia government which remains very weak.
Read: The Longstanding Drought, Crippling the Somaliland Economy
“In contrast Somaliland has a well established government that enables the international humanitarian response to be channeled through select bodies”
In conclusion Mr Vincent Lelei revealed that OCHA and partners Chanel and work closely on all related Somaliland humanitarian activities With NERAD, the local National Environment Research and Disaster Preparedness Agency.
At the press briefing The OCHA team was accompanied by officials from L&INGOs as well as those from other UN agencies bas d in Hargeisa.
Six Days in Somaliland, the 4 minutes Video on Drought that Crashed Care Australia Website