Aid reaches hundreds of thousands in Somalia, but difficulties persist, UN says

Aid reaches hundreds of thousands in Somalia, but difficulties persist, UN says

Somali refugees receiving supplies from UNHCR
Aid has been distributed to more than 90 per cent of the nearly 400,000 people displaced by recent fighting in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, though considerable humanitarian difficulties persist, the United Nations said today.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that, to date, 366,000 of those displaced between February and earlier this month have been provided with food and supplies such as shelter and household items by UN agencies and their partners.

Humanitarian organizations have also been working to provide clean drinking water, sanitation, education and health services to internally displaced persons (IDPs), many of whom are now using the lull in fighting to return to Mogadishu, OCHA said.

OCHA voiced particular concern, however, over the prevalence of acute watery diarrhoea, which has killed nearly a thousand people, and the fact that some areas affected by the outbreak remain inaccessible.

Many roads are still too dangerous for transport, landmines have been reported in some areas, airstrips have been rained out, transit through Kenya is still being negotiated and ships are refusing to sail to Somalia following the deadly 19 May attack against a chartered ship off the port of Merka. A guard trying to repulse pirates was killed in that incident.

In follow-up to the mid-May visit of UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, an inter-agency mission travelled to Mogadishu from 29 to 30 May to discuss ways to increase humanitarian assistance.

The mission emphasized that the focus of the current response is now on providing basic services to the IDPs, leaving resettlement plans to be linked to the national reconciliation process.