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UN welcomes new parliament in Somalia

Friday April 15, 2022

Photo taken on Feb. 15, 2022 shows the Security Council meeting on Somalia at the UN Headquarters in New York. (Evan Schneider/UN Photo/Handout via Xinhua)

UNITED NATIONS (Xinhua) -- The United Nations welcomes the swearing-in of newly elected members of Somalia's House of the People and Upper House, the two houses of parliament, on Thursday.

"After a period of more than one year in which all Somali-elected institutions exceeded their constitutional timelines, we are pleased that the new parliament is now in place," said Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

"We, along with our partners, strongly condemn the mortar attack, claimed by al-Shabaab, that occurred earlier in the day (Thursday) near the location of the swearing-in," he told a daily press briefing.

The United Nations looks forward to the rapid completion of the remaining stages of the electoral process, notably the election of the parliamentary leadership and then the head of state, he said.

Adam Abdelmoula, the resident and humanitarian coordinator for Somalia, said the country faces a "real risk of famine" as a result of unprecedented drought.

In his briefing to reporters at the UN Headquarters in New York on Thursday, Abdelmoula said nearly half of the population -- 7.7 million people -- need humanitarian assistance and protection this year. Of them, 6 million people need food assistance urgently.

There is famine in six areas of the country through June this year, and food prices are rising sharply. Humanitarian assistance is not scaled up to reach the most vulnerable because of a lack of resources. The UN humanitarian response plan for Somalia for 2022 asks for 1.5 billion U.S. dollars. So far, only 4.4 percent of the requested funding is met, he said.

"If neglected, Somalia's crisis will have catastrophic consequences," he warned, noting that the crisis in Somalia has long been overshadowed by other humanitarian emergencies, such as Tigray, Afghanistan, Yemen, and now Ukraine.

All four woes of terrorism, privacy, mass migration and mass starvation will return without enough attention, he said.

Things are not getting better any time soon as the primary driver is climate change, he warned. 


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