Somalia’s newly elected President Hassan Mohamud used his inauguration speech yesterday to appeal for international help to avert a famine that posed threats to his drought-stricken country.
Aid agencies had warned of an approaching famine as cases of severe malnutrition among children shot up in the troubled nation of the Horn of Africa, which was battling a record drought following four failed rainy seasons.
Multiple appeals for aid had gone largely unnoticed so far, with nearly half the country’s population going hungry and more than 200,000 people on the brink of starvation, the United Nations said Monday.
The drought crisis has also hit Somalia’s neighbours, Ethiopia and Kenya, whose presidents were among the foreign leaders attending yesterday’s ceremony, held under heavy security in the Mogadishu airport complex.
In addition to tackling the looming famine, Mohamud, who previously served as president between 2012 and 2017, faces a grinding Islamist insurgency in parts of the country, making humanitarian access a challenge.
He vowed to foster “political stability through consultation, mutual endorsement, and unity among the Federal Government and Federal member states,” striking a contrasting tone to his confrontational predecessor Mohamed Mohamed, better known as Farmajo.
Somalia’s international partners had welcomed the election of Mohamud, with many hoping that it would draw a line under a long-running political crisis that had distracted the government from tackling the Al-Shabaab insurgency and the devastating drought.