Number of displaced in Somalia hits 1 million mark – UN agency

Number of displaced in Somalia hits 1 million mark – UN agency

Displaced Somalis in a makeshift camp
The number of people displaced within Somalia by recent violence has hit the 1 million mark, a spokesperson for the United Nations refugee agency said today, warning that conditions are worsening as numbers swell.

The number of people displaced within Somalia by recent violence has hit the 1 million mark, a spokesperson for the United Nations refugee agency said today, warning that conditions are worsening as numbers swell.

Of this figure, 600,000 have fled the “lawless Somali capital, Mogadishu,” Jennifer Pagonis of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) told journalists in Geneva. One third of those left “entire neighbourhoods in the volatile capital empty” over the past two weeks alone.

Mogadishu is also now home to an estimated 43,000 internally displaced people (IDPs), a 10,000 increase from a week ago, UNHCR said.

“At the same time, estimates on the number of IDPs living in increasingly desperate conditions in more than 60 makeshift settlements along the 30-km stretch of road linking Mogadishu and the nearby town of Afgooye have shot up to nearly 200,000 – a 50-per cent increase in the past two weeks alone,” said Ms. Pagonis.

A recent assessment mission reported that families in the area lack proper shelter and are using plastic bags and rags to patch up their makeshift shelters. Children are reportedly malnourished while health care is lacking.

“Although IDPs express confidence in security in the Afgooye area, we are increasingly worried about security incidents there in the last several days,” Ms. Pagonis said, citing an explosion there on Sunday which killed six people and the killing on Friday of an aid worker hit by a stray bullet as she helped distribute relief supplies to IDPs in the area.