New challenges in Somalia, relief efforts under pressure in Kenya and
29 Nov 2011 12:06
Source: Content partner // UNHCR
We are concerned about Al Shabaab's announcement yesterday, permanently
revoking work permissions to a number of UN organizations including UNHCR in
parts of Somalia under their control.
This comes at the time of a dire humanitarian crisis in southern and central
parts of Somalia. After drought and famine, continued fighting and heavy
rains further aggravate already dramatic condition of displaced Somali
civilians. More than two thirds of Somalia's estimated 1.46 million
internally displaced people live in southern and central parts of the
country and humanitarian needs there are immense.
We are assessing the impact of this latest development on our humanitarian
operations in these parts of Somalia.
Continuing military operations and heavy rains are limiting the movements of
displaced population in Somalia's Gedo region bordering Kenya. There have
been no cross-border movements between Dobley in Somalia and Liboi in Kenya
or vice-versa. People are unable to move as the rains make roads impassable.
Others are reluctant to move, fearing ambushes or getting caught in the
crossfire while on the move.
However, there are reports of over 500 people, including children,
travelling on foot from Qooqaani, Tabta (both in Gedo region) and Afmadow
(Lower Juba) towards the border town of Dobley. They cite a lack of food in
their towns, cut off by the recent rains and military activity. Some people
who have already arrived in Dobley told our staff that they were forced to
leave their homes due to lack of food. Even those with means were unable to
buy food. They indicated that they are willing to return as soon as the
situation improves and are not planning to cross the border in order to
reach Dadaab. A number of agencies are operational in Dobley, undertaking
distributions of food and other assistance.
In Mogadishu, we noted a profound change in the root causes driving the
forced displacement. While drought accounted for the vast majority of
displacement in the Somali capital during the first three quarters of this
year, as of October we have seen 8,300 people displaced by conflict in the
capital and just 500 displaced as a result of the drought.
Overall, our partners and staff are reporting that the movements into
Mogadishu from other regions have declined compared to previous months,
mainly due to fighting in Daynile and Heliwa districts. Reported
displacements were mostly within Mogadishu districts and also from Daynile
to Hodan district.
In neighbouring Kenya's Dadaab refugee camps, insecurity continues to hamper
UNHCR's operations. It has been several weeks since the authorities stopped
registering new arrivals. Aid agencies cannot assess the number and
condition of new arrivals as our movements are still limited in the camps.
More than 360 refugees have been affected by cholera and acute watery
diarrhoea. Most are treated as outpatient cases and there is a need for more
supplies of oral rehydration salts and other treatments. At the Kambioos
site, the mortality rate has decreased and it is expected that the situation
will further stabilize following food distributions over the weekend.
Despite security restrictions, the authorities managed to complete a mass
oral polio vaccination campaign for all refugee children under five years of
Efforts are ongoing to enhance security measures in Dadaab, including the
deployment of additional policemen. Refugees from Hagadera camp are
conducting road patrols to help secure access to the camps.
In Ethiopia's Dollo Ado camps, we're seeing high rates of severe acute
malnutrition (8 per cent) and global acute malnutrition (14 per cent) among
refugee children under five at the transit centre. This is partly due to the
low uptake of the wet feeding program. In response, UNHCR and partners are
expanding the program to all children up to the age of 10, and adding milk
powder to the porridge to boost nutrient levels.
The fifth camp in that area, Bur Amino, is ready to receive the first batch
of more than 7,000 refugees from the transit centre as of tomorrow
(Wednesday 30 November). The transfers from the Dollo Ado transit centre
will start initially with 500 people and will increase gradually until all
the refugees are moved to the new site.
Meanwhile, access to these areas is increasingly difficult due to heavy
rains. The roads are intermittently impassable and the local airstrip is
often flooded preventing flights from landing. This is seriously affecting
our supplies and operations as we run low on fuel, electricity and safe
For more information on this topic, please contact:
* In Nairobi, Kenya (Kenya office): Emmanuel Nyabera on mobile +254
733 995 975
* In Nairobi, Kenya (Regional office): Vivian Tan on mobile +254 735
* Needa Jehu-Hoyah on mobile +254 734 564 018
* In Nairobi, Kenya (Somalia office): Andy Needham on mobile +254 733
* In Ethiopia: Kisut Gebre Egziabher on mobile +251 911 208 901
* In Geneva: Andrej Mahecic on mobile: +41 79 200 76 17
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Received on Wed Nov 30 2011 - 15:56:10 EST