World

Somalia need still extreme, UN says

MOGADISHU, Somalia — Somalia’s 2011 famine is over. Militants have been pushed out of Mogadishu. Political progress is being made. And yet the United Nations and the Somali government are pleading with international donors to help a country they say is still in crisis.

Aid groups, pressed to respond to emergency situations in Somalia in recent years, have not been able to put the time or resources into building the country’s systems, Philippe Lazzarini, the UN’s aid chief for Somalia, said Tuesday.

Many in the country remain in dire circumstances.

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‘‘We have 50,000 children at the doorstep of death,’’ because of severe malnourishment, Lazzarini said.

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International donors, squeezed by the continuing crisis in Syria and new emergencies in South Sudan and Central African Republic, have given less money to Somalia.

Lazzarini argues that Somalia’s health indicators are even more dire than those in South Sudan or the Central African Republic. Somalia, he said, suffers from an aid-giving bias from donors because it has been suffering for so long. In addition, if donor funds drop off now, it could undermine the fledgling state-building process, he said.

‘‘While the situation is in no way comparable to the famine, we are still in a situation comparable to just before the famine,’’ Lazzarini said.

Associated Press