Friday, February 09, 2007

Somalia: Feb 9th Situation Report (UN OCHA)

This comes from OCHA, and is also available on Reliefweb.int

Somalia: Situation Report - 9 Feb 2007
Main Developments

In Mogadishu, the week-long reconciliation conference (organized by the National Reconciliation Commission under the auspices of NRC and supported by UNDP) has been taking place this week. The more than 250 participants include clan, religious, business and political leaders, as well as NGOs are UN representatives. Workshops have focused on issues of security in Mogadishu and, by extension, are addressing broader issues of reconciliation. It is hoped that the reconciliation conference will ultimately contribute to increased stability/law and order, which could greatly benefit humanitarian access.

These reconciliation efforts continue amidst violent incidents in Mogadishu. During the week, various mortar attacks occurred – on the capital’s seaport, airport, neighbourhoods and on the presidential palace. A rocket-propelled grenade also targeted an Ethiopian military convoy. It is thought that at least nine people were killed during the week – including two children – and several others wounded in these attacks.

Displacement

There are reports of as many as 1,160 IDP households currently in the border towns of Dobley, Tabda, Qoqani, and Hayo (Lower Juba). Although many of these people recently received food and non-food assistance, they still urgently require health care. Formerly, they would have crossed to Liboi in Kenya for such care but have been unable to do so because of the border closure. Reports continue of untreated cases of dysentery, diarrhea and malaria. Meanwhile, 348 families have reportedly left the Dobley area and returned to their places of origin (Kismayo, Jilib, Marerey and Afmadow), having given up hope of seeking asylum in Kenya. About 800 other individuals have indicated their desire to return home, but lack the resources to do so.

IDPs continue to be faced with serious protection issues. In Kismayo, an LNGO reports that sexual violence against IDP women and girls is increasing in the town and surrounding areas. The most vulnerable of these IDPs are women and girls who attempted to cross into Kenya and, having failed, became displaced in Kismayo and the surrounding area. Meanwhile, a Mogadishu-based LNGO reported that mortars launched into an IDP came in Talex village in the capital on 1 February left seven people dead, including three children.

Access and Response

Following approval issued 7 February by the GoK’s National Security Committee for humanitarian assistance to enter Somalia via overland routes, thirty-four empty trucks that had been waiting on the Somali side of the Kenya-Somali border have now re-entered Kenya at El Wak and are being loaded with food. It is estimated that the reloaded trucks will leave El Wak for Gedo this weekend. It is hoped that this movement represents a breakthrough in the impasse over the Kenyan border issue.

A recent ICRC 3-day trip to 7 villages in Jilib district (Middle Juba) reported a ‘highly alarming’ humanitarian and livelihood situation, with the region in a state of 'decapitalization'. A majority of families reported that due to lack of food they had eaten seeds distributed for post-flood recessional planting. The greatest need identified by those interviewed was food, followed by clothing. It is estimated that in Jamame and Jilib districts 20,000 families need urgent assistance, and there is evidence to suggest that the region including Buale and Jilib (Middle Juba) to Jamame (Lower Juba) is in a similar humanitarian and livelihood situation. An inter-agency response is underway. ICRC will support repair of breaches on the Juba river bank, while WFP and UNICEF respectively will distribute food and non-food items in Jilib and Jamame.

An estimated 2,000 hhs in Badhade district (Lower Juba) have recently been reported to be in urgent need of assistance. The families were affected by the recent conflict in the region, and have either been displaced or have become more vulnerable as a result. A number of agencies and NGOs are planning to respond with food and non-food assistance, including WFP, UNICEF, Horn Relief and FAO.

WHO is reporting an outbreak of watery diarrhea cases in Jowhar (Middle Shabelle) and Beletweyne (Hiran). In Hiran, there have been 34 deaths from diarrhea reported in the last two weeks out a total of 312 cases (144 cases in Beletweyne alone). Despite recent media reports that dozens of people have died of cholera in recent weeks in these regions, WHO is reporting only one positive test for cholera out of six samples taken from Beletweyne. However, the Cholera Task Force (including WHO, IMC, SC UK, SRCS) has been active for some time in Beletweyne, and IMC, SRCS, WHO, MSF are coordinating the response to the current diarrhea outbreak. In Jowhar, as of 4 February, 179 patients suffering from watery diarrhea had been admitted to Jowhar hospital. Inter-agency coordination and response is ongoing, involving Intersos, WHO, UNICEF and MSF-S. Field staff are being asked to improve surveillance and prevention measures, and WHO Mogadishu office is mobilizing additional supplies to fill gaps.

As part of the push to provide funds to under-funded sectors – particularly where such a gap has prevented comprehensive life-saving activities – the Emergency Relief Coordinator has allocated US$1 million to the security sector for Somalia. During an initial period of re-engagement, humanitarian operations will be conducted in a precarious security environment and funding for upgraded security arrangements will help to support a sustained presence in the field despite the volatile situation.


I would be happy to recieve more information from my readers who have any knowledge of what is going on in Somalia, and will pass along to my readers good information and post some more links to credible aid groups working there. Email me: impeccableliberalcredentials (at) gmail [dot] com

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