Somalia

Aid needed for Somalis fleeing fighting

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Food and medicine are just some of the basic needs facing almost half a million people who have been displaced from Mogadishu, as a result of the fighting that has been raging in the Somali capital over the past week.

More than 250 people have been killed, as the Ethiopian-backed government army fights forces opposed to them. The resources of Muslim Aid's offices in Somalia have been severely tested by this crisis.

"We are trying to help hundreds of internally displaced communities inside the Madina district"said Ahmed Muhummed, country director of Muslim Aid Somalia. "We are assisting many mothers and their children. Many of these people, who have fled the violence, are suffering from diarrhoea, malaria and other diseases."

Due to the unrelenting violence, many Somalis are living in makeshift camps around the main cities. Their houses are made of cardboard, rags and clothes, and the situation has been made worse by contaminated water, no sanitation facilities and outbreaks of fire and disease.

"In Lower Shabelle, we are running centres for those infected with cholera"said Ahmed Muhummed. "Our worry is that many more residents will flee the capital as the war intensifies."

Muslim Aid has made an initial allocation of =A325,000 to provide emergency aid to the refugees. Those interested in assisting can call 0207 377 4200 or visit Muslim Aid's website at www.muslimaid.org

(ENDS)

For further information:

Contact name : MICHAEL SIVA