Worsening security hampering relief effort in Somalia, says UN

5 February 2008

Efforts to help Somalis who have been forced to flee their homes due to the violence engulfing their nation have never been as restricted as they are now, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said today.

Efforts to help Somalis who have been forced to flee their homes due to the violence engulfing their nation have never been as restricted as they are now, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said today.

Roadblocks, shelling and attacks in the capital Mogadishu, along with rising threats against and targeting of aid workers, have severely limited the humanitarian community’s ability to operate, according to OCHA.

Just last week, a roadside bomb near the southern Somali town of Kismayo killed three humanitarian workers serving with the international non-governmental organization (NGO) Médecins Sans Frontières.

The worsening security situation has also led to an increase in the vulnerable population. Over the past two months, some 40,000 people have fled Mogadishu. The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) puts the total number of those displaced by the ongoing fighting since the end of last October at over 294,000.

OCHA has stressed the urgent need for the political and security issues in the troubled Horn of Africa nation to be addressed “in a robust way to create an environment conducive for humanitarian response and eventual recovery.”

 

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