UK aid cuts may force closure of Somalia clinics
The UK's foreign aid cuts are forcing aid agencies to prepare for the closure of health clinics they run in Somalia, a charity official has told The Guardian.
Hajir Maalim, Action Against Hunger's East Africa regional director, said amid the threat of food shortages and the spread of Covid-19, the charity was "scenario planning" for up to 40% in cuts, something which would mean the closure of frontline health clinics in Mogadishu.
"If those cuts go ahead it will be like taking the bandages off the wounded", Maalim said.
The UK is Somalia largest aid donor, providing the Horn of Africa country £147 million in 2019-2020.
The spectre of dry funds comes as the UK announced on Monday that it was slashing its aid program to Yemen by more than 50%.
The UN's chief slammed the move, branding it a "death sentence" to the war-torn country.
The sharp cut - down to £87 million ($120 million) from the £164 million the year before - was announced on Monday at a virtual donors' conference by the UK's Minister of State for the Middle East and North Africa James Cleverly.
UN officials warned at the event that if the UN failed to meet its $3.85bn target for 2021, millions of Yemenis could face starvation.
On Tuesday, Andrew Mitchell, London's former aid minister, labelled the Yemen's aid cut as "a harbinger of terrible cuts to come".
He urged ministers to allow an immediate vote on the planned cuts, saying they "were a strategic mistake with deadly consequences".
He was joined by two other ex-cabinet ministers in calling for an early vote on the matter in Westminster, arguing the government is legally required to do because it ended its commitment to spend at least 0.7% of the UK's gross national income on aid.
In November, Dominic Raab, the UK's foreign minister, indicated proposing legislation to ensure the cut would be long-term.