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UN agencies prepare in case of problems after attack on Comorian island

UN agencies prepare in case of problems after attack on Comorian island

United Nations relief agencies are strengthening their presence in the Comoros in case of humanitarian problems that might emerge after the Government of the Indian Ocean archipelago, backed by African Union troops, launched an attack yesterday on the island of Anjouan to remove its renegade president.

Staff from the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Food Programme (WFP), the World Health Organization (WHO), the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the Department of Safety and Security (UNDSS) are standing by to respond in case of need, the UN Country Team in Comoros said in its latest update.

While there have been no reports so far on any civilian casualties or of major population movements, the UN Country Team noted that many inhabitants on Anjouan fled their homes last month due to widespread rumours of an imminent attack and only some had subsequently returned to their homes.

A mission by the WHO to Anjouan earlier this month voiced concern about the health situation on the island and the capacity of existing health-care services to cope with any influx of patients. UNICEF has also voiced concern about the potential for malnourishment among residents, given that local production of rice has been limited.

Yesterday’s morning attack has successfully deposed Colonel Mohamed Bacar, the self-declared president, from leadership on Anjouan, one of the biggest islands of the Comoros.