NAIROBI, Kenya — Catholic Bishop Giorgio Bertin, apostolic administrator of Mogadishu, Somalia, welcomed the country’s new president and expressed hope that the new leader would unite the nation threatened by war and a severe drought.

Bertin spoke to Catholic News Service June 13, just days after the June 9 inauguration of Hassan Sheikh Mohamud as the 10th president. Mohamud — who is assuming power for the second time — vowed to tackle the ongoing humanitarian crisis, insecurity and poverty in a speech delivered at the inauguration in the capital, Mogadishu. The 66-year-old leader first served as president from 2012-2017.

“My expectations are that the ‘new’ president will be able to coagulate the different Somali factions, clans and regions in order to serve their people, and especially to face in a coordinated way the problem of drought and famine,” said Bertin, who serves as bishop of Djibouti and apostolic administrator of the Catholic Church in Somalia.

Somalia is one of the countries affected by a catastrophic drought due to the fourth successive rainy season failure.

Catholic agencies, priests and nuns in the region are providing some relief to the drought, the worst in 40 years. But agencies and the religious warn the resulting need for food, water and other basics is extremely overwhelming.

Mohamud warned that his country was extremely vulnerable to the drought and said famine was threatening. U.N. agencies say that nearly a quarter of a million people in the country are on the brink of starvation.

“These conditions are caused by accumulated problems, including climate change, destruction of our economic resources and the weakness of our government institutions,” Mohamud said in his inaugural address.

Bertin urged the international community to “work together for the interest of the Somali nation and not for their own interests.”

Somalia has been without a stable government since 1991, when the late dictator, Mohamed Siad Barre, was forced out by rebels.