International support key to bringing stability to Somalia UN aid official says

Carolyn McAskie, the UN Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator, told a press conference in Nairobi, Kenya, that thanks to the cooperation of Somali communities and authorities, UN agencies were currently able to access large areas of the country and carry out a wide range of humanitarian and development assistance. If the international community could provide the necessary resources, the UN would be “willing and able” to help lay the foundation for long-term stability, she said. “In our view, the time is right for the international community to invest in Somalia as a test case for building long-term peace through investment in communities,” said Ms. McAskie. Accompanied by UN officials and representatives of donor governments, Ms. McAskie visited UN relief, recovery and reconstruction the south-western regions of Bay and Gedo. While in the Bay region, the team observed a school where new UN textbooks will be used, a health facility dedicated to providing tuberculosis treatment, and a farming cooperative which aims to give women the means to grow and market various crops. During meetings with local officials, Ms. McAskie emphasized that in carrying out its work in Somalia, the UN and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) depended on security provided by local administrations and populations.“Although we rely on security guarantees of the authorities, it is the goodwill of the people that will ensure the safety and effectiveness of our operations,” she said. “It is through close cooperation with emerging grass-root structures that we can help communities all over Somalia.” The UN is seeking some $83 million this year to assist Somalia, which in recent years has attracted only roughly half the required funding. read more