The UN Migration Agency (IOM) held a project launch ceremony today to mark the start of operations of a project focusing on meeting emergency needs for shelter and non-food items (NFIs) in Somalia. The project will be implemented through a $1 million donation from the Government of the People’s Republic of China.
The function was held in the Somali capital and was attended by China’s Ambassador to Somalia, Qin Jian, and top Somali federal government officials including representatives from the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, the Ministry of Planning, Investment and Economic Development, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Gerard Waite, the IOM Somalia Chief of Mission, hailed China for its continued support for humanitarian work on the African continent. Mr. Waite reaffirmed IOM’s commitment to work closely with other humanitarian agencies and the Federal Government of Somalia in support of efforts to find a long-term solution to the recurrent challenges posed by natural and man-made disasters in Somalia.
“Through this programme, supported by China, IOM, in partnership with the Federal Government of Somalia, other UN partners and regional states, will cover critical gaps in shelter for those who are newly displaced by drought and by conflict,” Mr. Waite stated.
He noted that the support will complement other IOM programmes, including camp coordination and camp management, displacement data tracking, as well as programming in support of long-term recovery and stabilization in Somalia, currently being executed at the national level.
The Chinese Ambassador to Somalia, Qin Jian, emphasized that the purpose of the donation is to assist internally displaced persons (IDPs), vulnerable communities and returnees in Somalia, as per the recent agreement signed between the Government of the People’s Republic of China and IOM in Beijing on 15 May 2017 (https://www.iom.int/news/china-backs-un-migration-agencys-work-somalia ).
“Not long ago the Chinese government provided Somalia with 10 million dollars in emergency humanitarian food aid, which included more than 2,800 metric tons of high quality rice, shipped along the Maritime Silk Road from Shanghai to Mogadishu to support the people of Somalia who are in dire need of food aid after being hit by severe drought,” Ambassador Jian stated, adding that the two countries have a long history of good bilateral relations.
In his remarks, the Permanent Secretary from the federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, Mohamed Moalim, commended China for the donation.
He noted that more support is needed from the international community given the magnitude of the humanitarian needs in Somalia. The Permanent Secretary observed that though the rains have returned, the situation remains dire.
The Permanent Secretary from the federal Ministry of Planning, Investment and Economic Development, Abdi Dirshe, called for a multi-pronged approach which addresses emergency response as well as the underlying drivers of man-made and humanitarian disasters in Somalia, including conflict and limited capacity to withstand cyclical weather events such as droughts and floods, if Somalia is to avert humanitarian crises in the future.
“We want to connect development efforts to emergency response. These funds and resources must be used concurrently so that we can prevent all these problems from occurring over and over again,” Mr. Dirshe observed.
The Director of Asia/Australia Department in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Shirwa Abdullahi, thanked the Chinese government for its generous donation and also emphasized the simultaneous need to tackle the drivers of human displacement and conflict to minimize frequent humanitarian crises in Somalia in the future.