UN chief in Somalia on emergency visit to focus on famine

UN chief in Somalia on emergency visit to focus on famine

MOGADISHU, Somalia — U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres made an emergency visit to Somalia on Tuesday to highlight the country’s famine crisis, meeting the new president and saying the worsening hunger requires a massive response.

“People are dying. The world must act now to stop this,” the U.N. chief tweeted on his arrival in this Horn of Africa nation.

“We need to make as much noise as possible,” Guterres said. “Conflict, drought, climate change, disease, cholera. The combination is a nightmare.”

Somalia is part of a massive $4 billion aid appeal launched last month for four nations suffering from conflict and hunger. The others are Nigeria, Yemen and South Sudan, where famine already has been declared.

Somalia over the weekend announced its first death toll since declaring a national disaster last week, saying 110 people had died in a 48-hour period in a single region. The United Nations estimates that 5 million people in Somalia need aid, amid warnings of a famine.

Welcoming the U.N. chief, Somalia’s President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed said: “My first priority is to address this drought crisis, and my main priority is to make an appeal to the international community to help us.”

Somalia is also one of the six Muslim-majority countries affected by the revised travel ban ordered by U.S. President Donald Trump. Mohamed took Guterres’ visit as an opportunity to speak out against it.

“Definitely we will prefer to see that this travel ban should be lifted and, of course, we have to communicate with the U.S. government because as everyone knows we have a large Somali community in the United States who I’m sure have contributed to the U.S. economy,” said Mohamed, in response to press questions. He himself has dual Somali-U.S. citizenship.

Mohamed added: “We have to address the root cause, which is the security situation here and how to defeat (Somalia’s Islamic extremist rebels) al-Shabab here.”

Guterres said he was pleased to meet Mohamed, who was elected and inaugurated last month. “I am bringing a message of solidarity to the president. A message of support,” Guterres said. “Let’s hope he can start an inclusive government.”

U.N. humanitarian chief Stephen O’Brien on Monday visited a camp of hundreds of Somalis who came to the capital, Mogadishu, in search of food aid. Thousands of hungry people have trekked to the capital, overwhelming aid agencies.

Khaled Kazziha, The Associated Press

Just Posted

Hospice House launches new website to support families seeking end of life care

The new website is already proving to be very helpful for families

Impairment a possible factor in Kelowna Tim Hortons crash: RCMP

One person inside the restaurant suffered minor injuries

Buy a scarf, support a Kelowna charity

The Her International scarf sale will be held at Edgecombe Builders

Central Okanagan MLAs to give end-of-year address tomorrow

The three will be looking back at 2019 and forward to the 2020 budget

Kelowna’s 2040 community plan is nearing completion

The document will outline the city’s growth through 2020

VIDEO: Merriam-Webster declares ‘they’ its 2019 word of the year

Declared word of year based on a 313-per-cent increase in look-ups on the company’s search site

Local Lizzie: Reaching out in your community

Lizzie Skelton is a UBC Okanagan student who writes a column for Black Press

WATCH: Vernon house fire may have sparked by wood stove

Homeowner says he believes the fire originated in the basement

Jail time for Vernon man connected to fatal shooting

Man involved in break in with ties to fatal February shooting to serve 46 months

Anti-money laundering agency warns casinos to watch gamers playing with bank drafts

Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada, known as Fintrac, issues operational alert

Truck loses partial load at busy Vernon intersection

Possible electrical malfunction suspected as southbound traffic is backed up

‘Jurassic World 3’ will film in Metro Vancouver under working title ‘Arcadia’

Filming is set to take place between Feb. 24 and March 6, 2020

Time to celebrate Christmas Cowboy Style with Double Stop Creek & Friends in Penticton

The B.C.-based country band will be joined by additional musicians at Penticton’s Elk’s Lodge

Strata rental bans escape B.C. speculation tax through 2021, Carole James says

Vacant home tax won’t apply to cabins accessible only by water

Most Read