The UN special humanitarian envoy has called for increased security and access for humanitarian workers in Somalia to deliver aid in the Horn of Africa nation, the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a statement on Tuesday.
Kjell Magne Bondevik, who is on his final stage of a week-long tour, urged donors to be flexible as the aid community works on carrying out longer-term programs in the war-torn nation where 2.1 million people urgently need food aid and other support, according to the statement.
In Baidoa, 90 km south of Mogadishu, Bondevik met with Prime Minister Ali Mohamed Gedi and Speaker of the parliament Sharif Hassan Sheikh Adan from where he traveled to Wajid with donors and UN representatives.
Gedi said he support a gradually increased UN presence in the country, acknowledging that this would require improved security and access, according to OCHA,
The Horn of Africa nation which has lacked a functioning central government ever since the collapse of former president Mohamed Siad Barre's regime in 1991, is experiencing the worst drought in over ten years.
Somalia has endured 15 years of armed conflict and generalized violence, which have resulted in widespread human rights abuses, the destruction of public infrastructure and the disintegration of basic health and social services.
The UN launched a regional appeal for Somalia earlier this month, requesting 443 million U.S. dollars to support the urgent needs of more than 8 million people.
To date, the appeal has received pledges and contributions of 95 million dollars and the number of people targeted for humanitarian assistance in Somalia in 2006 has more than doubled from 1 million to 2.1 million people.
UN agencies, especially the World Food Program, have been hindered in the humanitarian activities by pirates off the coast and attacks on land, often having to take time-and fund-consuming detours to bring in supplies to a population that is suffering from its worst drought in a decade.