Thursday, March 20, 2008
Source: United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
The drought that has hit the country's central regions is spreading to northern parts of Somalia. The preliminary findings of an inter-agency drought assessment conducted from 13 to 15 March in Togdheer, Sanaag, Sool, and Wogooyi Galbeed regions of Somaliland conclude that parts of these regions are currently facing severe water and food crisis as a consequence of failed Deyr rains (short rains - October to December) and worsening drought conditions.
In Togdheer region the areas most affected are Burco, Balidhiig, Buuhoodle districts and southern parts of Owdweyne district. Livestock conditions are deteriorating, and some families have already lost up to 30% of their herds. Other income generating activities, such as the collection and sale of firewood and production of charcoal have intensified, which could lead to adverse environmental consequences. Emergency interventions recommended in the assessed areas include water trucking and rehabilitation of water points, food distribution, supply of veterinary drugs and expanding health services.
Drought throughout the country is causing new displacement. UNHCR and partners reported that nearly 4,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) from Mahaday district (Middle Shabelle) and South Mudug have moved to Mogadishu during the month of March due to the drought in their areas of origin.
Access and Security
Ten people were killed and at least 30 others injured in inter-clan fighting in Gaalkacyo, Mudug region, on 17 March. The clash was triggered by a land dispute. In general the situation security in Gaalkacyo and surroundings is deteriorating due to inter-clan fighting and increasing crime-related violence.
According to field reports the number of daily clashes between Ethiopian/Transitional Federal Government and anti-government groups in Mogadishu has reduced compared to previous weeks. Civilians continue to be caught in these clashes as was the case on 19 March when at least 12 people died including civilians and several other were injured following heavy fighting in northern part of Mogadishu. According to records from the two main hospitals in Mogadishu, 147 war-wounded were admitted during the first two weeks of the month.
A disturbing development is the increasing number of crime-related incidents affecting humanitarian agencies. During the past few weeks many agencies operating in South Central Somalia have encountered vehicle hijacking and armed attacks. On 18 March, a driver working for the NGO Security office was shot and killed and his vehicle stolen in Gaalkacyo. The same day, an MSF staff died in a hospital in Mogadishu following severe injuries sustained during an attack on an MSF vehicle on 12 March. In the past three months ten international NGOs and UN agencies and four national NGOs have been victims of hijacking or attempted hijacking of their vehicles, in which some staff were injured. Such incidents are seriously affecting the movement of aid workers.
Demonstrations against the rising rate of inflation took place in Mogadishu and Afgooye district on 18 and 19 March. Field reports from Mogadishu say that within the past week fuel prices have increased from $ 160 per barrel to $260. Prices for imported food commodities such as rice, sugar, and vegetable oil have also increased and are now at all time high levels, which is negatively affecting poor families' purchasing power and access to food. The elevated prices are caused by several factors including the continuing devaluation of the Somali shilling, increasing transportation costs, general insecurity and the slow-down of business activities in main market of Mogadishu, Bakara.
On a positive note, the SOS Hospital in Mogadishu has reopened after three months of closure due to insecurity. According to the hospital management, the security situation around the hospital had improved enough to allow the hospital staff to return to their work. On the first day of opening, the hospital treated 96 outpatients and delivered six new babies. SOS Herman Gmeiner Primary and Secondary School has also reopened, at a temporary premise. Around 150 children attended school on its first day of reopening.
On 17 March, a fire outbreak razed one of the most congested IDP camps in Burco called 15th May destroying many dwellings. Around 43 families have been affected. Most of these families are originally from South Central Somalia. The cause of the fire has not been identified. Humanitarian agencies are now planning to provide assistance to the affected families.
Please note that the next weekly Situation Report will be issued on Monday 31 March
Further Information in Somali or English, contact:
Muna Mohamed on + 254 733 643 737 - [email protected] Source: UN-OCHA,March 20, 2008