Sunday, 14 February 2010

Thousands flee Somalia fighting, says UN refugee agency

"Many people recognize that Somalia is moving from being a failed state in conflict to a fragile state with major development and Insurgents already control much of Mogadishu and southern Somalia Thousands of people have fled Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, since Wednesday, the UN refugee agency has said."Since the beginning of February, over 8,000 people have left the city to escape the fighting.

" spokeswoman Melissa Fleming said. "We are stepping up our preparedness to intervene and deliver emergency relief to the affected population as soon as the security situation permits." For months now, fighting has been an almost daily occurrence in Mogadishu. Some 24 people have been killed and another 40 injured since Wednesday, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Ms Fleming warned of the difficulties posed by working in a war zone: "As with other humanitarian actors, our own access is affected by conflict." 'Fragile state'Despite reports of violent clashes between government troops and the Islamist group al-Shabab, the UN Special Representative for Somalia congratulated the transitional government on its work over the past 12 months and urged it to continue its efforts to restore peace and stability to the country. "Unfortunately, they have had to spend time and resources trying to stop the violent attacks by extremists who oppose all their attempts to bring normality back to the country," said Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah. "Many people recognize that Somalia is moving from being a failed state in conflict to a fragile state with major development and reconstruction needs," he added.


Monday, 8 February 2010

Appeal For Urgent Humanitarian Assistance and Livelihood Support For Humanitarian Crises Prevention in Somaliland

Hargeisa, 6 February 2010 (Somalilandpress) – Predictions were made that food security and nutrition situation may worsen in most parts of Somaliland by Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU) of FAO in its early warning briefs .Some of the reasons cited included:
i. Poor “deyr” rains that preceded by dry “Hagaa” season which negatively affected pastural livelihoods.
ii. Very critical nutrition situation reported in agro-pastoral population, based on a data for rapid assessment.
iii. High numbers of children, identified as acutely malnourished, that require rehabilitation. For Togdheer pastoral population, the situation was classified as serious.
iv. Insufficient water and pasture for livestock herds through the “jilaal” dry season (January to March 2010), which will cause early water trucking in Sool, Haud and Haud of Hargeisa.
v. Very low Livestock production and re-production due to poor conception rate during the post “jilaal” and “Gu 2009” as well as livestock diseases during, “Hagaa 09”, that resulted in death and abortion of camels and goats. In Awdal region, cattle and sheep had weak body conditions.
Recent assessment carried out by National Environment Risk and Disaster (NERAD) also confirmed the gravity of the drought faced by the people.
The facts are:
 The ”Gu” rains were below normal
 The “Karan” rains were below normal
 The “ Deyr” was also below normal
 The “Heis “rains in Guban areas didn’t also rain normally
 In certain areas in Sool, Sanag and Togdheer, there were no rains

As a result of above facts, poor pasture, scarcity of water, food and weakend human and animal health has been experienced. Recent Reports received from all regions confirmed (Viz: Togdheer, Sool, Sanag, Awdal,Maroodijeex,and Selel) that both pastoralists and agro- pastoralists are facing serious, but devastating drought. The affected population is estimated to be 40% of the total population of Somaliland of 3.5 million which equals to 1.4 million people.
A serious humanitarian catastrophe seems to be imminent, which is beyond the capacity of national authority, that requires to be prevented.
The government of Somaliland, therefore, appeals to international community (i.e. Governments, UN Agencies and other humanitarian organizations as well as the business communities and other benevolent institutions for urgent humanitarian assistance and livelihood support to avert worsening of the humanitarian crises.
In addition, assistance and support to urgent water trucking, construction and rehabilitation of boreholes as well as rehabilitation and desilting of “Berkads” and ‘Dams’ and the supplies of necessary medications for affected human and livestock populations will be needed to avert break-out of epidemics. Nutritional support to the weak and sick will also be necessary.
The situation is critical and may continue to worsen in the coming months. It requires rapid and fast responses from the international community, the business community, humanitarian and benevolent institutions to deliver needed humanitarian assistance and livelihood support.

Hon. Ali Ibrahim Mohamed
Minister of National planning, coordination and Relations with International Organizations

On behalf of Chairperson of the National Disaster Management Committee and Vice President of the Republic of Somaliland

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Up to 240,000 Somali under fives malnourished - report

NAIROBI, 2 February 2010 (IRIN) - Somalia has one of the highest levels of malnutrition in the world, with up to 240,000 children under five affected, according to an early warning report published on 1 February by the Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit for Somalia (FAO/FSNAU) and FEWSNET. The report comes as Mogadishu residents say the humanitarian situation has deteriorated. "I honestly cannot remember when things have been so bad; it is as if all the negative things are coming together at one time," civil society activist Asha Sha'ur said. "If the situation - both security and humanitarian - does not improve soon, we will be looking at a far worse situation than Somalia has ever faced." Ali Sheikh Yassin, deputy chairman of the Mogadishu-based Elman Human Rights Organization (EHRO), said many business people had fled the city due to increasing insecurity. "These were the people who used to create jobs," he said. "It was not much but it allowed many displaced poor people to supplement what little aid they got. Now that is not possible." More than two-thirds of malnourished children were in south-central Somalia, the report said. "Although we are seeing some positive indicators in terms of the lifting of the livestock export ban and improved crop and livestock production in southern parts... the food security and nutrition situation in central regions remains in crisis, where 70 percent of the population require assistance," said Grainne Moloney, FSNAU's interim chief technical adviser for Somalia.

Severely malnourished One in six children was acutely malnourished and in need of specialist care. "One in 22 is severely malnourished and at a nine times increased risk of death compared to well nourished children," the report said. In south-central Somalia, which has seen significant clashes between Islamist insurgents and government forces, one in five children were acutely malnourished, it said. Civil society activist Sha'ur told IRIN that high food prices, lack of employment opportunities and reduced humanitarian aid had contributed to the crisis. A 50kg bag of maize which was selling for the equivalent of US$12 two months ago was now going for $30, she said. EHRO’s Yassin said the situation in the city had deteriorated in the last two weeks. "We had a few weeks when some people actually returned to their homes from the camps, but that has now been reversed by fighting in the past week." Up to 45 people had been killed and at least 152 injured in fighting between government forces and insurgents in the last week, he said. ah/cb

Theme(s): (IRIN) Children, (IRIN) Food Security, (IRIN) Health & Nutrition

Somalia violence claims 258 lives, displaces 80,000: UNHCR

NAIROBI, Feb. 2 (Xinhua) -- At least 258 people have been killed and 80,000 others displaced this year by violence in Somalia which sharply escalated in January resulting widespread destruction, a UN refugee agency said on Tuesday.
The UNHCR said in a statement issued here that some 29,000 people have been uprooted by heavy fighting in Dhusamareebb in Galgaduud region, over 25,000 have fled their homes to escape renewed clashes in Beledweyne in Hiraan region, while another 18, 000 are known to have been displaced in the on-going conflict in the capital, Mogadishu.
"According to local sources, intense clashes between government forces and militia groups fighting for control of the conflict- torn central regions have left at least 258 civilians dead and another 253 wounded, which makes January the deadliest month since last August," it said.
"We estimate that more than 80,000 Somalis have been displaced since the beginning of the year. Thousands were also forced to leave their homes in other parts of Somalia."
The UN agency said the deteriorating security conditions have so far made it hard for humanitarian workers to access the needy population.
UNHCR plans to distribute emergency relief items and shelter material to over 18,000 people in 27 locations where the displaced are temporarily settled around Dhusamareebb and Belet-Weyn as soon as the security situation will permit.
UNCHR said the internally displaced people (IDPs) in Galgaduud region face difficult conditions. Fearful of returning to their homes, many are reported to be sleeping in the open with dwindling shelter and little water.
There are also growing concerns about the health conditions of particularly vulnerable groups - such as children, women and elderly.
More than 1.4 million people are internally displaced in Somalia and some 560,000 Somalis live as refugees in the neighboring countries. In 2009, over 120,000 Somalis sought refuge mainly in Kenya, Yemen and Ethiopia.
Source: Xinhua

Monday, 1 February 2010

UN rights expert warns of human rights violations in Somalia

The UN independent expert on the situation of human rights in Somalia, Dr. Shamsul Bari, has issued a strong warning on the security, human rights and humanitarian situation in the country, including Somaliland and Puntland.Bari described as "extremely serious" the situation in South and Central Somalia, where civilians continue to bear the brunt of the fighting between forces of the transitional government forces (TFG) and Islamist armed groups."The Islamist Forces fighting to topple the TFG are reported to have carried out extrajudicial executions, planted mines, bombs and other explosive devices in civilian areas, and used civilians as human shields," said Bari in a statement received here on Friday."Fighters from both sides are reported to have fired mortars indiscriminately into areas populated or frequented by civilians."At the end of his fourth monitoring mission to the Horn of Africa, the UN expert reported grave violations of women and children's rights, including the recruitment and use of children by several parties to the conflict.He added that "corporal punishment in the name of Sharia Law by such groups, including floggings and amputations following summary if any proceedings, arbitrary detention, death threats and intimidation are reportedly taking place."The UN expert stressed that "journalists and human rights defenders in all parts of Somalia continue to face severe restrictions, increasing death threats and are often victims of targeted killings for their work"."The suspension of the humanitarian assistance and the discontinuation of the food distribution with continuing restrictions by armed groups to humanitarian access by targeting aid workers violate rights to protection, adequate food, medical care and shelter," he said.In particular, he noted that piracy, human trafficking and mixed migrations remain the most serious challenges to the Puntland government."Piracy and the huge money it generates may pose a security threat not only to Somalia and the region, but to the whole world, " Bari stated, warning that "the recent killings targeting senior politicians in Puntland raise legitimate security concerns regarding the spread and the attempt of terrorist groups to destabilize Puntland and Somaliland."Bari was unable to visit the capital, Mogadishu, and southern and central Somalia due to security constraints."The stabilization of Somaliland and Puntland could have a positive impact on South and Central Somalia," the UN human rights expert stressed.He urged the international community and the UN to strengthen international engagement and support to Somalia, including Puntland and Somaliland."This increased support is required particularly for the implementation of the three pillars of the Djibouti process -- political, security and recovery -- which all include cross- cutting human rights issues," Bari said.The UN refugee agency UNHCR estimates that more than 117,000 residents of Mogadishu have been displaced in the past month due to heavy exchanges of fire between government troops and Islamist insurgents.It says that the latest round of fighting has caused 200 deaths among civilians and wounded 700 others.
Source: Xinhua