Muslim Aid is implementing a humanitarian action plan in response to the devastating drought in East Africa, where widespread starvation, famine and loss of livelihood ravages the region.
Arriving in Somalia today (Friday), Jehangir Malik OBE, CEO of Muslim Aid says: “The people of Somalia have had to endure so much pain and anguish over the last three decades with natural and manmade disasters, they have been resilient in some of the harshest of conditions. Now, the children and mothers sit and wait patiently with an uncertain future once again”.Jehangir Malik visited Somalia five years ago when the country was suffering extreme drought. He says: “Previously, due to security and conflict I was unable to leave Mogadishu, this time with Muslim Aid teams across the country, we will be witnessing the severity of the impact in places like Baidoa and Kismayo. Nothing can describe the blank and cold stare into the unknown of a Somali child who is unaware of the reason for his or her pain.”
It is estimated that 6 million people - 50% of the population in Somalia - are at risk of starvation due to crop failure, with food security expected to decline further through to mid-2017. A further 2.7 million people in Somalia lack access to clean water and sanitation, which is giving rise to an increase in disease, posing acute problems in remote areas which lack healthcare facilities.
Muslim Aid’s teams on the ground have identified water and sanitation, livestock and healthcare as the most pressing needs for those affected. Jehangir Malik is leading a delegation from the Muslim Aid UK and Muslim Aid Sweden, joining Muslim Aid’s Somali field staff, on a visit to the badly affected areas of Baidoa and Kismayo. The group will formulate emergency relief plans for an estimated 200,000 people.
Muslim Aid’s immediate preparatory plans include drilling three boreholes to provide communities with access to clean water, providing livestock to 300 families and providing access to healthcare through mobile clinics for those living in drought-affected, remote areas with limited access to health facilities.
Muslim Aid was founded in 1985 in response to the famine that swept across East Africa at the time. Muslim Aid has since established a permanent presence in the region when it establishes its field office in Somalia in 1993 to provide ongoing support for those in need of humanitarian assistance. In 2016 alone, Muslim Aid’s work in Somalia benefitted over 740,000 people in the fields of healthcare and nutrition, emergency aid, livelihood projects, and support and protection for victims of gender-based violence. The field staff are monitoring the current crisis closely to continue to identify the needs of those affected and provide adequate assistance in response.