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Statement by the Permanent Representative of Estonia to the United Nations, H.E. Margus Kolga, at the Horn of Africa humanitarian crisis Mini-Summit

24.09.2011

Madam Under-Secretary-General, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Estonia is deeply concerned about the huge loss of life and the alarming humanitarian situation in Horn of Africa.  The reasons for the suffering of more than 13 million people are deeper than the recent drought. It is also the result of two decades of war and instability and the absence of central government in Somalia, which has contributed to high level food insecurity and famine. It is intolerable that 750 000 people are at risk of death over the coming months in the southern regions of Somalia and that 15% of children are malnourished.

Estonia values highly the work of  OCHA and the international humanitarian community that make everything possible to provide humanitarian assistance in this very insecure and high risk environment. We urge for better coordination between all players, the traditional humanitarian system as well as the Islamic NGOs, to work hand-in-hand and avoid duplication to serve the people in need in the most effective way. In order to achieve that OCHA coordination activities should be carried out in Somalia.

In  order to provide for the populations in need, it is of utmost importance that all powers in region, especially Somali Transitional Federal Government and African Union, guarantee secure and unhindered access for humanitarian aid workers.

Estonia has already responded to the emergency appeal for Horn of Africa to support UNHCR life saving activities to help refugees and IDPs.  Additionally we responded to Somalia CAP 2011 in support of UNICEF activities to protect children from unlawful recruitment in armed groups in Somalia.

The Horn of Africa needs longer term solutions like increased resilience for droughts and other weather hazards, not only emergency relief.  Therefore we put our hopes for the success of planned national elections in 2012 and we urge TFG and African Union to make all possible to stabilize the political situation in country.

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