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Press Release: “General Secretary of Organization of Islamic Organization and its partners held an emergency meeting in Mogadishu to confirm commitment to prevent famine in Somalia”

  The General Secretariat of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and its humanitarian partners continue their efforts to address current famine, whose impacts have begun to emerge in Somalia and the Horn of Africa as a result of the severe drought caused by a few years of rainfall threatening the lives of millions in the Horn of Africa. Somalia is on the brink of imminent famine. More than six million people, Almost half the population of Somalia needs urgent humanitarian assistance. The warning signs of this famine are very clear. After three years of lack of rainfall, water and agricultural crops have been severely degraded and drought has affected large areas of grazing land, causing tens of thousands of deaths of livestock on which the population depends for their survival. In the light of the need to intensify efforts and work jointly to maximize the contribution of humanitarian efforts and to promote joint humanitarian action, the OIC, in partnership with the Humanitarian Forum and the Islamic Charity Forum, and under the auspices of the Somali federal government and with the support of United Nations bodies and with a large presence of international agencies held an emergency humanitarian meeting on 11 April 2017 in Mogadishu under the theme “Renewed commitment to prevent famine in Somalia” to assess the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Somalia and to work to prevent the looming famine. The meeting also aimed at strengthening partnerships between humanitarian actors at the international, regional and local levels with the federal government of Somalia and donors to mitigate the effects of drought, and improving the efficiency of the coordinated response and assessing the magnitude of humanitarian needs and steps that could be taken to accelerate the response immediately and in a coordinated manner. The OIC chaired the meeting and the opening session was addressed by HE Mariam Kassem, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management of the Somali Federal Government, Mr. Peter DeGlerk, Coordinator of the UN Office for Humanitarian Affairs in Somalia, and HE Hisham Yousuf, Assistant Secretary General of the Islamic Organization for Humanitarian Affairs. Representatives of the World Food Program, FAO, UNICEF and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs of the United Nations in Somalia, as well as the Arab league, States and the Informal Committee of Donors to Somalia had participated in the meeting. Participants expressed their deep concern over the humanitarian disaster and the size of the international response to the potential famine in Somalia, which brings to mind the famine suffered by Somalia in 2011 which caused the death of about 260 thousand people, and warned of the consequences of the slowdown in humanitarian intervention and the need for immediate action before it is too late, especially if the current wave of drought is more widespread than that which occurred in 2011, a large competition for human resources in light of the multiplicity and depth of humanitarian crises especially in the region , and if there is a lesson learned from what happened in 2011, it is the importance of time to take procedures before the situation deteriorates to a famine. He also called on the international community to redouble its efforts to alleviate the suffering of those affected by drought and to raise the level of emergency relief so as not to exacerbate the current humanitarian situation and to avoid famine. The priority should be given to the provision of water, food and urgent health care. The participants welcomed the announcement of the establishment of a Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management in the new federal government by His Excellency Mr. Mohamed Abdulla Mohamed Faramajo. The participants also emphasized the importance of working together to provide urgent humanitarian assistance to the displaced and the entire affected population, especially those who are still in rural areas, to stop the displacement movement and save thousands of lives. The organizations that participated in the meeting expressed their commitment to provide humanitarian assistance to those affected by the drought and pledged to work together to coordinate and activate the efforts and commitment to work to prevent famine in Somalia and alleviate human suffering and save lives. The participating organizations has also confirmed their commitment to follow programs combining emergency relief to prevent famine, at the same time, more attention and effort should be given to finding sustainable solutions that would allow Somalia to cope with the impacts of climate change and flood and drought cycles and to strengthen their resilience. The meeting was attended by 150 participants from 85 local, regional and international humanitarian organizations as well as participants from the guests and the media.