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Senior UN humanitarian official lauds additional funding for Somali relief efforts

19 July 2013 – The top United Nations humanitarian official in Somalia today said that an additional $20 million in crisis funding comes at an opportune time to support the country's most vulnerable people, particularly children.

"The allocation for Somalia will help fill the gaps in key life-saving interventions in critical humanitarian domains," said Philippe Lazzarini, the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, expressing his appreciation to the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), one of the world's largest sources of humanitarian funding.

Somalia received the highest allocation out of a total $72 million apportioned to 12 countries categorized as 'neglected crises' around the world.

Midway through this year, the Consolidated Appeal (CAP) had only received one-third of the requested $1.15 billion in funding, with certain humanitarian clusters receiving less than a quarter of their requirements.

"This massive shortfall in funding jeopardizes efforts to build Somalis' resilience to future shocks such as drought," Mr. Lazzarini warned.

Yesterday Mr. Lazzarini visited the southern port city of Kismayo with representatives from UN agencies to take stock of the humanitarian situation following last month's outbreaks of violence.

More than 70 people were killed and 300 others injured in armed conflict stemming from a power struggle between local groups over leadership of the Jubaland regional administration.

"Many people are without adequate access to food, clean water and health care. Nearly half of the children have no access to education," a UN spokesperson told journalists today in New York.

Among the stops the UN team made was to Kismayo General Hospital, where there is a serious shortage of medical supplies.

Mr. Lazzarini welcomed the resumption of polio vaccinations in Kismayo targeting 38,000 children, following a temporary suspension due to the fighting.

According to the UN World Health Organization (WHO), there have been more than 70 cases of wild poliovirus in the southern and central regions of Somalia since May.

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