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UN refugee agency provides aid for 5,000 displaced Somalis

UN refugee agency provides aid for 5,000 displaced Somalis

IDPs receive non-food items from UNHCR
The United Nations refugee agency has provided basic supplies to some 5,000 displaced people living in makeshift shelters in the southern Somalia town of Baidoa, a market area and seat of the country’s interim parliament, while cautioning that more assistance is necessary.

The distribution of plastic sheeting for shelter, blankets, jerry cans and kitchen utensils started last Sunday and was completed on Tuesday morning, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said in a news release.

The 5,000 people from 1,000 families who received supplies during this distribution round are among the estimated 4,000 displaced families living in settlements in and around Baidoa.

Some of the internally displaced people (IDP) targeted during the distribution arrived recently in Baidoa from Mogadishu and other areas of south and central Somalia which have been affected by fighting, UNHCR said.

“We completed the distribution successfully this morning, but were still not able to meet all the needs. Some families are still without shelter material, while many of the IDP sites lack health services, water and sanitation,” said a UNHCR official in Baidoa.

“People depend on rainfall for farming activities. But this time the rains were not good, which means that people cannot work on their farms. They depend wholly on their farms and now they have no alternative,” the official explained.

Meanwhile, UNHCR said its operations in the town of Galkayo remain severely curtailed after threats forced the evacuation in early August of staff working for international non-governmental organizations (NGOs), including partners of the refugee agency.

The agency also said it is finalizing plans for the repatriation in October of a last group of some 2,000 Somali refugees living in camps in Djibouti.

Earlier this week, the UN Security Council voted unanimously to extend the African Union-led mission in Somalia by six months while approving continued contingency planning for a possible United Nations peacekeeping operation in the country, which has not had a functioning government since 1991.