UN, AMISOM humanitarian assessment team visit south Somalia

The United Nations and the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) have sent a team to southern Somalia to assess the humanitarian situation there, Press TV reports.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the World Health Organization, the UN Children’s Fund as well as AMISOM’s humanitarian Affairs office sent representatives to Merca on Tuesday to meet with local administrative officials and visit schools and hospitals.

Merca is the capital of the Lower Shebelle and one of the regions categorized as famine zones by the UN in August 2011. The port city was a stronghold of al-Shabab fighters long before it was captured by Somalia’s government troops, who were backed by the African Union (AU), four months ago.

Almost a year after the United Nations declared an end to the famine in Somalia, the UN and other international aid agencies now want to return to the famine-hit areas in light of improved security in most parts of Somalia.

During a visit to the Merca district hospital, the region’s sole referral hospital, medical experts said malnutrition and diarrhea remain high among children.

The World Health Organization has pledged to refurbish and equip the Merca general hospital that caters for patients from all the districts of the Lower Shabelle region.

Al-Shabab fighters had imposed a ban on foreign aid agencies in the territories in 2009, but their recent losses to AU forces in the country’s southern and central regions have paved the way for the return of aid workers.

The United Nations in December launched its three-year humanitarian appeal for Somalia. The appeal for 2013 is worth USD 1.3 billion and is planned to fund 369 humanitarian projects for 3.8 million Somalis.

Source : http://presstv.com/detail/2012/12/20/279189/un-amisom-visit-faminehit-somalia


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