Internally displaced persons: Combined report on Somalia

Situation Report
Originally published

Internally displaced persons: Combined report on Somalia1
UNCU / UN-OCHA , 2002
"Internally Displaced Persons are persons or groups of persons who have been forced or obliged to flee or to leave their homes or places of habitual residence, in particular as a result of or in order to avoid the effects of armed conflict, situations of generalized violence, violations of human rights or natural or human-made disasters and who have not crossed an internationally recognized State border"2



Somalia has experienced complex emergency conditions and continued inter/intra and factional warfare since 1991. This armed conflict that began with the war to topple the Siyad Barre regime extended into political violence, banditry and lawlessness. To date, Somalia lacks a functioning national government. Several regional administrations have emerged in the north and southwest of the country, and a Transitional National Government was created in August 2000 in Arta, Djibouti. However in most cases, with the limited exception of Somaliland, the effectiveness of these authorities has been impeded by various factors including an inability to capacity to control clan-based competition over resources, leading to intermittent conflict.

Throughout Somalia, an estimated 350,000 of the country's 7,000,000 inhabitants are internally displaced persons (IDPs) who, as a result of protracted conflict and insecurity, have experienced impoverishment, often combined with drought, which induces mass population displacement. Additionally, Somali IDPs have lost most of their assets and sources of livelihood including livestock and land, and have little access to stable employment. Despite a gradual return of IDPs to their locations of origin between 1993 and 1995, violence, food insecurity and water shortages continue to exacerbate the IDP situation. Notably, IDPs constitute nearly half of the estimated 750,000 Somalis who live in a state of chronic humanitarian need.

The nature and consequence of Somalia's civil conflicts make the issue of displacement highly complex. Communities have suffered multiple displacements and violations of their human rights, especially in the south. Populations that initially fled conflict and insecurity suffered further as a result appropriation of their farming lands along the banks of the Juba and Shabelle Rivers during their absence. Many of these IDPs eventually moved north in search of economic livelihoods. IDPs in the north are mostly agriculturalists that belong to sub clans from the south including Rahanweyn, Ajuran, Jarso, Madhiban and Ashraf and the minority group, Bantu. These IDPs lack access to power and decision making, income generating opportunities and do not enjoy protection provided by the dominant sub clans of the north. Additionally, gender based discrimination and violence, particularly rape of young girls and women is widespread. Women are often attacked when they go out to collect firewood or a earn living for their families. Women are vulnerable to male attacks both from within their clan as well as from other clans.

Since 1999, with exception of Gedo (April - June 2002), there have been no major population displacements in Somalia. Nonetheless, a number of intermittent but temporary displacements have occurred due to sporadic insecurity in the south, including Mogadishu, Gedo, Lower and Middle Juba, Lower and Middle Shabelle regions. It has become increasingly difficult to distinguish normal from abnormal movements and to identify IDPs from general pastoral movement due to the combined effect of the armed conflict coupled and the lack of systematic monitoring procedures of population movements. Furthermore, with the departure of UNOSOM II from Somalia the UN and international NGO community has been distanced from the country through its relocation to Kenya from where cross-border operations are conducted.

Although there are international instruments and UN guidelines for the protection of IDPs and civilians in conflict, in most parts of Somalia the implementation and enforcement of international laws and principles is weak as the conditions of a collapsed state prevail. These conditions also mean that IDPs are often not afforded protection by authorities in the absence of a functioning legal system in many areas. Thus, IDPs in Somalia are especially vulnerable as a result of their ambiguous status with the various de facto authorities across most of the country.


Whereas the Somali population consists of, predominantly transhumant pastoralists, that is, highly mobile, land-owning people, this report deals with abnormal displacements of vulnerable people including IDPs, minorities and to some extent, returnees. This report endeavours to highlight their gender composition, causes of displacement and levels of vulnerability. This report further provides an estimate of IDP populations based on secondary information from various UN agencies and NGOs, in addition to field visits and research undertaken since 2000. The zonal breakdown of the figures are summarized as follows:

  • IDP estimates in northwest Somalia is approximately 40,500 persons3
  • IDP estimates in northeast Somalia is approximately 30,500 persons4
  • IDP estimates caseload in southern and central Somalia, excluding Mogadishu, is approximately 86,000 persons UNCU study 20015
  • IDP estimates in Mogadishu 150,000 persons6

The main objective of these combined studies is to provide an overview of the situation of IDPs in Somalia. UN Coordination Unit / UN-OCHA initiated these detailed studies in order to call attention to vulnerable populations by providing contextual analyses at the local and national levels. These contextual analyses could then be used by UN agencies and NGOs to develop a country strategy to engage constructively with vulnerable populations. It is envisioned that such a strategy should include modalities and means of providing assistance to IDPs, many of who have lived in camps from between five and ten years; broken up in some instances by multiple displacements. Aid agencies have expressed concern about their provision of relief services to IDPs without the development of such a strategy. Of great relevance is the importance of the definition of IDPs and their vulnerability. Furthermore, the strategy in some situations should provide possible durable solutions including integration, resettlement and mechanisms for the provision of protection, especially in the south where there is a prevalence of non-existent or weak systems of governance.

This report is further intended to reflect the importance of clan and sub-clan affiliations, which are a determinant in understanding the plight of IDPs across the Somali regions. The study investigates the direct correlation between minorities and displacement in Somalia. The findings suggest that a high proportion of those who are dispossessed and displaced, whether in the north or the south, are from minority groups such as the Bantu. The power relationship between dominant clan and sub-clans with minority groups and IDPs influence effective and targeted delivery of humanitarian assistance to vulnerable populations.

The exact figure of IDPs is not possible to determine, because some of the IDPs and returnees have integrated within the general population of the major urban towns, such as Hargeisa, Burao, Boroma, Bosasso, Galkayo, Mogadishu and Beletweyn. The study of the northwest and northeast covered all major towns and each municipality settlements with in-depth study and testimonies of IDPs and refugees returnees. In southern and central Somalia field visits were conducted to various IDP locations, in 8 regions, where interviews were conducted with IDPs and key informants including local staff of NGOs and UN agencies.


The concept of what defines a vulnerable population in Somalia is multifaceted. Within any community there are people that are undeniably at risk as a result of general poverty caused by any number of factors. However, in the Somali context, the clan has the role of being a powerful social safety net that to some extent mitigates the effect of poverty on individuals and families. From this perspective, there are distinct communities that for reasons of dislocation or exclusion are rendered particularly vulnerable as they generally have little or no entitlement within the dominant clan system. These communities include IDPs, minority clans and returnees. However, it is important to note that not everybody within these categories is automatically vulnerable. Following are the definitions of vulnerable populations mentioned in this report:

IDPs are by definition dislocated from their home areas and have to a large extent lost the benefits of their clan support systems. Many IDPs have suffered multiple displacements and have lost their assets and means to livelihoods. In many cases, IDPs are themselves from minority clans, and if they come from dominant clans, live in the same vicinity and/or under the same conditions as underprivileged and often outcaste minority clans.

Minority Groups7 have tended to be targeted by dominant clans during conflict, and have frequently lost assets such as land as a result. These minorities include the Bantu, Eyle, Galgala, Tumal, Yibir, Gaboye, Bajuni, Benadiri and Bravanese. Some of these groups such as the Eyle and Galgala have assimilated into some of the dominant clan groups, Rahanweyn and Issak respectively. However, they still remain marginalized.

Returnees are possibly the least vulnerable of these groups as they have generally retained their clan cohesion while refugees, and are returning to their areas of origin (though not necessarily their original homes or livelihoods) where they have the potential to reintegrate into society as equals within the clan system. The most vulnerable returnees live in resettlement sites with very few basic services, and relatively few economic opportunities to develop sustainable livelihoods.

Vulnerability and Causes

A multiplicity of factors and events cause the high level of vulnerability among IDP communities in Somalia. The studies show that about 75% of IDPs are women headed households. These women and children moved abnormally from areas of their habitual residence and reside in camps and "camp-like" surroundings. Such individuals are in need of assistance and protection. It is the case that the majority of IDPs have been living in poor shelter in camp-like environment or dilapidated former government structures for more than 11 years. This is particularly the situation in Mogadishu. Some of the main causes of vulnerability include the following:

  • Erosion of assets due to armed conflict during the civil war and intermittent inter/intra-clan conflict, resulting in poverty;
  • Protracted conflict and insecurity;
  • Systematic marginalisation and discrimination based on ethnicity and caste;
  • Natural disasters such as successive droughts and floods;
  • Absence of adequate governmental structures that provide assistance and protection;
  • Poor access to economic/employment opportunities.

There are numerous challenges faced when defining vulnerability. Quantifying displacement is difficult in Somalia given the prevalence of transhumant social structures. Even prior to the collapse of the central state, populations traveled great distances in search of food, pasture and water especially during times of stress as a key coping mechanism. Notably, the right and ability of the transhumant pastoralists to eventually return to their homes characterizes this type of seasonal movement and gives rise to certain analyses. In contrast, IDPs have usually been displaced by 'abnormal' events and are often unable to return to their area or livelihood of origin. The current protracted nature of displacement offers its own type of analytical challenges, particularly given the recurrence of multiple 'waves' and directions of displacement.

Of importance in the understanding of vulnerability are the changes in displacement trends. With the decreasing volume and regularity of food relief distributions, 'food camps' no longer exist. Households are now proactively moving from their camps in drought and conflict-stricken areas toward riverine and urban areas, only returning to their homes/camps when situations improve. These populations actively seek prior information from "scouts" in order to establish conditions before deciding on their direction of movement.

Another key factor is the declining numbers of transhumant pastoralists who form the majority - 60 per cent - of the Somalia population. This percentage was estimated higher in pre-civil war Somalia even in the wake of the numbers of people who moved from rural to urban areas. This movement is part of the global phenomenon, "urban drift" or "urbanization", which illustrates pastoral dropout as the movement of young people search of economic opportunities and improved living conditions. In comparison, transhumant movement of people and household assets is related to the seasonal search for food, water and pastures as a normal way of living in arid and semi-arid environments.

However, unless there are exogenous forces that resulting in the uprooting and/or displacement of people, they normally return to their home areas for cultivation or when the situation in their areas improves. Particularly, in Bay and Bakol regions, seasonal movement is the major pattern for earning livelihoods where most of the male rural farmers leave their areas after the harvest to the urban centers looking for labor prospects and other sources of income for the family. However, the trend of population movement has changed from normal / voluntary movement to abnormal since the collapse of the central government in 1991 and the spread of violent conflicts across the country: IDPs lack the liberty to choose to return to their home areas, or adopt their normal livelihood pattern.

Vulnerable populations have limited access to food, shelter, water, health and sanitation facilities. This coupled with the fact that most IDPs are farmers and agro-pastoral groups who lack the right skills to generate income in the main urban centers. For instance, IDPs living in main towns/villages of the Juba Valley regions exist under appalling conditions - dwelling are constructed from sticks and grasses that give little protection from climate elements and few can afford to acquire plastic sheets to cover their homes. Both water and sanitation conditions are very poor since there are no latrines and waste disposal system.

Majority of IDPs work as porters, domestic workers and causal laborers. In other words, they engage in a self-perpetuating cycle of labor intensive, low-skill, low-income employment. In most cases as earlier mentioned, women head their household and are therefore the sole breadwinners; often working in unsafe conditions with adverse effects on their health. Personal security of IDPs is central to their survival. Since many IDPs come from minority groups, they suffer discrimination and denial of basic rights by local authorities and some of the local communities. Women suffer from limited access to resources as a result of both gender, sex and ethnic based discrimination. Furthermore, women and girls in the IDP camps often become victims of rape, abduction and forced marriage. A woman who is subjected to rape faces entrenched social attitudes and traditions that hamper the growth of family relations in the long run.

While aggregate economic indicators identify Somalia as one of the poorest nations, analysis of the informal economy depicts remarkably different picture. In particular, the role of remittances in sustaining household incomes illustrates an important dynamic of informal economy upon which a significant number of Somali families depend. It is important to note that vulnerable populations do not benefit in any significant manner from the informal economic support through remittances. Therefore, vulnerable populations find it difficult to cope with economic downturns including the devaluation of the Somali Shilling. In addition to remittances, social networks and kinship support represent another dynamic in the household economy that has not yet been quantified by modern economic methods. As is the case with remittances, vulnerable populations are also unable to benefit from such networks.

The situation of IDPs in Somalia varies significantly between the different regions of the country. In the northeast (Puntland) and northwest (Somaliland) where some degree of stability and limited economic development has taken place in the past five years, IDPs in Hargeisa and Bosasso are essentially dependent on their very limited access to remittances to sustain their livelihoods. Thus the study of IDPs in the northeast and northwest pays special attention to the economic livelihood particularly the role of remittances in household income and hence the livelihood of IDPs. It is worth noting that this important source of livelihood has been subjected to a major shock such as the US sanction, following 11 September 2001, on Al-Barakat Company, the main Remittances transfer and telecommunication company in the Somalia. However, the impact of Al-Barakat closure on livelihood of IDPs remains outside the focus of this study.

In south and central Somalia where intermittent insecurity prevails in regions such as Gedo, Lower and Middle Juba and Mogadishu, IDPs have limited access to the informal economy. Their main benefit from the market is in the form of service provision as porters and causal labourers. The IDPs are dependent on social network support for their livelihood, besides the limited assistance from the international community in some regions. The provision of assistance varies from one zone/region to another depending on the degree of stability and security of the region.

Although the scope of this report does not focus on returnees refugee issues, the harsh living conditions of many returnees in the northwest is generally similar to those of IDPs. Poor access to basic services and employment opportunities affect returnees and IDPs alike in the main resettlement areas. However, studies suggest that where IDPs and returnees are living in the same urban centers such as Hargeisa, it is the IDPs and minorties who are more vulnerable, and consistently fall behind all the other communities in terms of poverty indicators and opportunities8.

Humanitarian Assistance

Basic needs of vulnerable populations including the following:

  • Adequate shelter
  • Food security
  • Health services
  • Water and sanitation
  • Education and capacity building for sustainable income-generating skills
  • Access to economic opportunities

Insecurity throughout much of the country has complicated response efforts of the international community attempting to respond to the plight of vulnerable populations. In fact, large areas of the country are currently off-limits to aid agencies due to insecurity and this constitutes the main hindrances to targeting IDPs and other vulnerable groups with meaningful assistance.

A number UN agencies and NGOs provide limited assistance to IDP communities. However, insecurity in some areas in the south including Mogadishu, Lower Juba, Lower Shabelle and Gedo has affected the effective delivery of humanitarian assistance. In certain instances, it has been claimed that some of the sub clans that control these regions have benefited more than the target beneficiary groups (IDPs) by manipulating the delivery of assistance through the provision of security and safe passage to aid workers by the clan militia. In the northwest and northeast the administrations are not enthusiastic about designing a comprehensive policy targeting the IDPs and returnees with a focus on issues such as urban planning, legal status and property rights. Clearly there is a need for UNCU/OCHA to engage with local authorities concerning policy issues that relate to the rights of vulnerable communities. There have even been some cases where officials have blocked efforts to effectively assist these communities, and in some cases diversions of assistance from IDP camps have been reported.

The UNCU/UN-OCHA Workshop on Vulnerable Populations (22 - 24 July, 2002) in Hargeisa is one way in which the international aid community can begin to collectively think about the issues affecting vulnerable communities. Such a workshop is intended to form the basic conceptual understanding, which will in turn form the basis for a future, comprehensive and national strategy for engaging with vulnerable populations.


Based on their patrilineal kinship9 and lineage segmentation, the Somali people are divided into six major clans, which in turn branch out into numerous sub clans, and minority groups. The major clans include Darod, Dir, Hawiye and Issak collectively known as Samale group, and the Rahanweyn (Digile and Mrifle) community categorized as Sab group. The Hawiye clan includes Habargedir, Abgal, Murusade, Hawadle, Galjel, Moblen, Sheikal, Djijele, Badi Adde, and Ajuran while the Darood group include Majerten, Marehan, Dhulbahante, and Ogaden, LeelaKase, Artoble, Kaskiiqabe and Dashiishe (see clan chart - annex).

Those who fall outside the major clan lineage divisions are considered as minorities. They are disadvantageous of being minorities except when they have patrons or patron clan that support them. This lack of clan protection puts them at the mercy of arbitrary action by major clans.

According to their lineage, the minority groups are divided into two groups: A group, which has similar ethnic origin with the Samale group, but traditionally considered as cast people who have no equal rights with others. This group includes Midgan, Tumal and Yibir (collectively known as Baidari group), Gaheyle and Galagale and Boni. They are traditionally hunters, leather and metal workers, and craft makers living in some parts of north, central and southern Somalia.

A second group, which is distinct from other Somalis in ethnic identity, cultural and tradition include Bantu, Benadiri and Eyle. The Bantu, who are refer to as "Jarer", which literally means thick hair are small-scale farmers or labourers who live in the riverine areas in southern Somalia. They are also divided into various sub clans with different ethnic origin. Some for example the Mzigua, Mzaramo, Magindo, Myao, Makua, and Manyasa collectively known as Wa Gosha " forest people" or Oji are believed be descendents of Tanzanians, Mozambicans and Malawi's who were taken to Somalia in the 19th century by Arab slave traders (MRG, 1998). They live and practice some subsistence farming in the Gosha area in the Lower and Middle Juba regions.

Second Bantu subclans, which include Shidle, Shabelle, Makane and Kabole, are believed to have descended from early non-Somali agricultural communities. They are also small-scale farmers who predominantly live in the Middle Shabelle and Hiran regions. The third Bantu group lives in the Lower Shabelle region. For protection reasons they have identified themselves with the other Somali communities in the region. These include Jarer-Hintire, Jarer-Wacdan, and Jarer-Biamal. Except the Mushunguli group who retained their Mushunguli language, the other Bantu speak Somali language and have become assimilated into local Somali communities. However, they have never been recognized as real Somalia, as a result, they suffer ethnic discrimination which placed them into servitude class. They are marginalized and excluded from main stream of administration, education and minimum social and economic development.

The Benadiri are descendents of early immigrant settlers of the Somali coastal towns, probably from Yemen and Far East. The Benediri group includes Hamari of the ancient Hamarweyne and Shangani district of Mogadishu. The Bravanese of Brava coastal town; and the small seafaring Bajuni community of Kismaio, and the small islands off the coast, many of whom have an ethnic affinity with other East African community of Swahili origin Momabasa, and Zanzibar.

The origin of the Eyle community is controversial. Some associate their origin with the Bantu, while others with the Rahanweyn and other Somali communities. The Eyle are hunters and gathers who predominantly live in the regions of Bay, Lower and Middle Shabelle and Hiran.

The Somali clans are grouped into clan bonds or clan alliances formed to safe guard the mutual interest and protection of the members of the alliances. The Social contract or "xeer" is the most important component that cements together the alliances. It calls upon the collective response of any threat to members of the alliance. As marginalized groups, the minorities are outside this system, and they are vulnerable to attacks and human rights violations by the dominant clans.

As a consequence of the armed conflict that began in 1991 when the revolt against the oppressive Siad Barre regime has turned into a competition between the dominant groups including politicians for power and economic resources including fertile land which was owned by minority groups. Therefore, they were seen as targets "enemies", and suffered more than the general population. As a result, the minorities have disproportionately suffered wanton killings, destruction of their culture and identity, torture, ethnic and gender based discrimination, alienation from their lands, obstruction of humanitarian relief, and subsequently displaced from their lands to IDPs and refugees camps. Though there is an abundance of international laws, it was not clear to many people whether these international laws permit the intervention of the community in internal affair of countries because of the concept of sovereignty. However, many had the common believe that an anarchic situation like the one in Somalia, intervention can be justified for protection of the civilian and vulnerable groups. The doctrine of non-intervention has made the international community skeptical until the situation deteriorated. When the international community intervention, led by the UN and the US, took place in 1993, it met resistance by the armed clan leaders who were engaged in fighting to control territories and resources of others. As a result, a number of peace-keeping forces and aid workers, including 18 American soldiers were killed in Mogadishu and else where by clan militia. The international intervention neither protected the civilians nor the peace.

Armed conflicts accompanied by droughts and floods have caused a large number of IDPs and refugees of whom the majority are from minority groups. The refugees receive better protection than the IDPs, because there is agency that clearly mandated to look after refugees' protection and assistance needs, and some authorities such as in Somaliland have recognized the right of returnees.

For the protection of IDPs, there are international instruments and particularly the UN Guiding Principles, which specifically and comprehensively address the rights of IDPs. However, in Somalia, the key problem is implementation and enforcement of the international instruments and principles. Without central authority and a country divided into several entities of weak authorities and areas ungoverned at all with roaming armed militia factions with respective warlords that clearly do not respect or adhere to the rule of law.

UN agencies and NGOs representing the main humanitarian actors have limited influence on clan militia and their leaders to respect the protection instruments. However, it yet appears that constructive engagement in collaboration with the civil society in the form of non-governmental organizations, as they can contribute invaluable experiences, local knowledge and insights, is only way forward to promoting local protection mechanisms.


UNCU has initiated a comprehensive study on situation of IDPs in most of the accessible locations in Somalia to help the UN country team and SACB partners to prepare a country strategy to provide effective assistance and protection to IDPs. The study has been conducted in two parts. Mr. Khalid Madani, UNCU international consultant, conducted the first part of the study in northwest and northeast of Somalia from November 1999 to January 2000. Mr. Yusuf Abdi, national consultant, conducted the second part of the study in south and central Somalia at different times between March to December 2001 due to difficulties in accessing most of the locations.

In addition to secondary data collection on IDPs from NGOs and UN agencies, two methods have been used. The first consist of a qualitative assessment of IDP locations involving observations from site visits, focus group discussions, interviews using semi-structured questionnaire with IDP leaders, elders, women groups, children and local authorities representatives. The purpose of this was to obtain information on IDP social structure including their clan origin [home area], dynamic of movement, personal security, coping mechanisms and the humanitarian conditions. The second method consist of quantitative analysis consist of household questionnaires to obtain information on household economy. The survey in the northwest and northeast focused primarily on sources of household income, remittance inflows, and issues relating to food security mainly because of the importance of remittance and trade in north. The input of FSAU in the northwest and northeast is very much recognized by the consultant. In south and central Somalia because of limited access due to insecurity and limited role for remittance and markets in the livelihood of IDPs, the information on livelihood was obtained through qualitative methods.

The limitations of this study include the information compiled in this report is admittedly subject to bias because it relies on the testimonies of the IDPs themselves. Likewise the information provided by the hosts is also subject to bias because of the anticipated benefits as in Gedo region where the hosts perceive IDPs as a source of getting international aid into the region. That said, the broad outlines of the displaced and returnee situation is generally accurate. Other limitation is lack of institutions in the south and weak institutional capacity in the northwest and northeast administrations often made collection of data difficult and hence generate incomplete analysis of the situation of IDPs in details. It worth mentioning that most of the information included in this report comes from informants who prefer not to be cited. Obviously much of this information has not been credited to specific sources. The quantitative statistics included in the northwest and northeast section of the report were designed and gathered jointly by the consultant and FSAU staff in Hargeisa and WFP field monitors in Bossaso.


In Somaliland and Puntland there are a total of 19 camps accommodating approximately 71,000 IDPs and returnees. Other internally displaced including displaced returnees constituting a much larger number are dispersed throughout the region either in shanty camps in the outskirts of towns or are absorbed by households of relatives and kin. As the economic situation of both the northeast and northwest regions has not recovered from the civil war and little international assistance is being received to rebuild basic infrastructure and regional economies, income generating activities and work opportunities for IDP households are limited.

In the northern region of Somalia there are two distinct categories of IDPs. One that can be described as the classic category of IDPs who comprise of displaced communities from central and south Somalia. They fled their homes due to civil conflict and / or severe drought conditions and are mainly people from the Rahweyn, Ajjuran, Kale Jele, Shekhash, Biyo Mal Ahmed, Jarso, Ma'alin Weyne, Harin and Ashraff clans. They are recognized by their distinct dialect from the Southern region. A study conducted in 1999/2000 reveals that approximately 11,000 IDPs of southern origin are residing in Somaliland of which an estimated 6,060 are sheltered in camps in the districts of Hergeisa, Buroa, Yirowe and Boroma. An estimated number of 20,000 IDPs mainly from Bay and Bakol are located in designated camps in the districts of Bosasso and Baadweyn of Puntland. The remaining IDPs are believed to be dispersed in rural areas and urban settlements. As conflict and insecurity in the south persist, the number of people fleeing the war-torn southern and central regions in search of security and economic opportunities continue to affect the overall IDP caseload of the northern parts of Somalia.

The second category and less obvious IDPs are those, mainly of the Haber Awal sub-clan and Garhajix community but also few dispersed groups of the Arab clan, who have fled to rural areas or across the border to Ethiopia during the 1994-1996 civil conflict and have been gradually returning, mainly to Somaliland, since 1997. More recently in 2000, the Government of Ethiopia with the assistance of UNHCR has initiated the closure of refugee camps in the Somali region and has been encouraging more refugees to return.

2.1 The Northwest (Somaliland)

The very complexity of the issue of displacement is rooted in the problematic associated with its definition. At a general level the issue is fairly clear-cut. That is, those clans from south and central Somalia such as the Rahanweyn, Ajuran, Kale Jele, Shakhal, Biamal, Jarso, Ma'alin Weyne, Harin, and Ashraf fall under the conventional category of displaced persons. These are displaced communities that fled their home territories due to civil conflict and severe drought conditions, or both, and have found themselves in northern towns throughout northwest and northeast Somalia.

At another, more complex level, there are the "returnees" or those clans and sub-clans that over the last decade have been displaced or made refugees as many as two or three times and are only now returning to their ethnic home towns and villages. At general level returnees are referred to as those from "Kilika Shanad" or Region 5 designating them by the Somali Region in Ethiopia were they resided as refugees during the civil conflicts of 1988 and 1994.

A more specific indigenous terminology has been developed by Somalis to make sense of this chaotic and often traumatic state of affairs. Thus, Somalis refer to different categories of displaced persons as Cakara, Carara and Carafla. Cakara refers to those persons who have remained in place throughout the civil conflicts in the region, Carara to those communities, which fled to rural areas or across the border to Ethiopia, and Carafla designates those of "missed opportunity." In other words, those communities who like the Carara fled and became dispossessed of their former assets and the chance to profit from the post-Barre era. In accordance with Somali culture these terms coincide with different Isaak sub-clan affiliations. Thus, the Cakara generally refers to the Arab sub-clan; Carara to the Haber Awal; and Carafla to the Garhajix (i.e. Haber Younis and Idagale).10

As for those southerners displaced to the north these are simplistically referred to as "Gudhu" or "foreign speakers" since their Somali dialect can be easily differentiated from that spoken by Somalis in the Northwest. "Ghudhu" is thus a linguistic designation, which, far more than racial or cultural distinctions, distinguishes displaced persons arriving from central and southern Somalia.

2.1.1 Hargeisa:

Comparison of Urban and Returnees/Displaced in terms of Wealth Groups

Not surprisingly there is a stark difference between urban residents and the IDPs and returnees living in camps on the outskirts of Hargeisa. While only 7% of urban residents can be categorized as destitute, as many as 50% of the Returnees and IDPs in the camps belong to this category. However, it should be noted that an equivalent proportion of Urban and Displaced/Returnees live under Very Poor conditions implying that a large number (approximately 33% residents) live in poverty. Naturally, Urban residents are composed of a larger section of middle and rich income groups, while the returnees and displaced among this category are minimal or non-existent.


Note that the wealth group categories used by FSAU are derived from estimates calculated on the basis of daily household incomes. Rich are those with incomes of above $1.25. Middle - between $0.75 and $1.24. Poor -between $0.74 and $0.5. Very Poor- between $0.4 and 0.31. Destitute - between $0.30.

There is no dramatic difference in terms of average size of households among the urban and returnee/displaced population. However, household sizes in urban Hargeisa are, on average larger than those in the returnee/IDP camps. More specifically, 3 percent of households in Hargeisa are over 15 as compared to 0percent in the camps. Moreover, while the majority of households in both sites are between 6 to 9 persons, 12 percentmore households fall in that range in Hargeisa town. Most likely this is explained by the greater absorptive capacity of families in Hargeisa who earn higher incomes and are able to absorb relatives belonging to the urban and rural poor. It is quite common for urban-based families to taken-in and even rear young children of close, and even distant, kin relations. Those families receiving remittances from abroad are particularly well positioned to support more vulnerable, poorer relations.

A key point with respect to economic livelihoods, illustrated below, is that clan affiliation is not always determinant in terms of economic wellbeing. The average daily income of urban residents of Hargeisa is over 36 percent more than the average income of households in the returnee camps. Naturally, incomes vary both by sub-district as well as by returnee camps. The variation is modest however, with residents of New Hargeisa and Mohamed Heybe enjoying slighter higher daily incomes in the range of $1. With respect to the returnee population those residing in Sheikh Noor and Mohamed Mogeh earn, on average, $.28 and $.34 per day respectively. Returnees in State House earn about $.3 implying a similar level of economic wellbeing with respect to the returnees.

Selected sub-districts surveyed: ADH=Ahmed Dhagax; NHR=New Hargeisa. 26 J=26June.
Returnee camps: SHN=Sheikh Noor; MMG=Mohamed Mogeh; STH=State House.

Remittance Inflows and Household Incomes

- Main Source of Income : Urban and Returnee/IDP Populations

There are no large-scale labor market surveys of the Hargeisa municipality. However, according to our survey the majority of urban residents (a total of 61percent) are involved in largely informal market and service oriented economic activities. A similar proportion (67percent) of returnees and IDP households earn the majority of their income from market and service oriented work mostly in petty trade and unskilled labor including work in construction and as porters. This implies a keen competition between resident and returnee/IDP in these sectors. For example, urban residents working in the construction sector have organized informal labor unions to keep out displaced persons, particular from southern clans, from competing in the construction sector. Both IDP and returnees complain bitterly of the lack of job opportunities, and the importance of clan and familial contacts in securing gainful employment.

The key distinction between resident and returnee/IDP populations is that the 23 percent of urban households enjoy access to remittances from overseas as a major source of income. In addition, while few households in Hargeisa proper derive income from begging, as many as 9 percent of the displaced -primarily among the Ajuran of Dima camp-live almost exclusively by begging. Indeed, taking into account the IDPs from the south alone, the percentage of households whose income includes begging is over 80percent.

Market activities include: Market stalls, Tea stalls, Qat sellers, Charcoal and Water Delivery, Meat Sellers, Money Exchangers, etc.

Service Jobs include: Mason, Porter, Civil Servant, Waiter, Driver, Unskilled Laborer.

Trade activities include: Livestock Brokers (Dilaal), Shops/Restaurants, Import/Export, Cloth Retailers, Petty Trade Activities.

Proportion and Regularity of Remittance Inflows

Any analysis of the labor market in Somalia must take account of expatriate labor as a key component of daily economic livelihoods in Somalia. Perhaps more than any other nation, Somalis rely heavily on support from overseas relatives. However, the extent to which households can afford to rely on remittances as their major source of income varies. While as many as 39percent of households in urban Hargeisa receive remittances, only 23percent receive this assistance on a monthly basis. As illustrated above, of the 39percent who receive remittances, 77percent enjoy these funds as a supplementary source of income. In other words, few households in Hargeisa, or elsewhere for that matter, can afford to rely on a single source of income. Typically, in addition to receiving assistance from relatives, Somali families have more than one family member involved in one or another form of informal economic activity.

It is worth noting that urban-rural linkages are also important in terms of sustaining livelihoods. According to our survey, 46percent of urban households support relatives in the rural areas in the range of $10 to $100 a month. Moreover, of those 46percent 22percent are urban-based families who are themselves are supported by relatives living abroad. Consequently, the link between out-migration and family networks across the urban-rural divide is another important characteristic of how Somalis survive under adverse economic conditions.

Proportion of Remittance Recipients by Sub-District and Mode of Transfer

There are some key variations in terms of remittance recipients by sub-district. For example, while 27percent of families in Mohamed Heybe and Gacan Libaax receive assistance in this form, only 15percent and 8percent of households in Ahmed Dhage and Koodbuur (Jigjiga Yaar) supplement their incomes via remittances. More research is needed to explain this variation in terms of why some families within Hargeisa enjoy assistance from expatriate relatives.

In terms of mode of transfer, the majority of households (60percent) receive remittances via Dahabshiil Remittance agency, while 15percent utilize Barakat agency. This is not surprising for Hargeisa, given the fact that Dahabshiil is primarily Isaak owned and operated and enjoys the trust of the majority of the clans in North Somalia.

Remittance Inflows for Resident and Returnee/IDP Populations

More than clan affiliation, access to remittance inflows plays a more important role in securing a modicum of economic well being for urban and returnee populations. The graph below demonstrates the stark differential between Urban Residents and the Returnee communities in terms of the proportion of households, which receive remittances from relatives. This is not to say that remittance transfers themselves don't rely on clan and familial networks, but rather to emphasize the role that other economic and social assets play in who benefits from them, and how frequent these remittance inflows are.

The graph below, demonstrates that in terms of sub-clan categories the dominant Isaak sub-clans in Hargeisa receive remittance on a largely even basis.

No particular sub-clan has a monopoly of remittance inflows. Consequently it is safe to assume that who benefits from them is dependent on a previous asset base that is contingent on the fortunes of particular households, rather than a particular sub-clan.

Remittances and Family Networks

One of the key points to keep in mind, particularly within the Somali context, is the social welfare function of Somali family networks. Family networks represent a form of "social safety net" that is not reflected in quantitative analysis or aggregate economic indicators, yet they are the principle reason why many Somalis are able to secure their livelihoods under harsh economic realities. The majority of Somali families rely to a remarkable degree on assistance from relatives outside of nuclear family sphere. Almost every "family" unit encompasses three or more households, which are interdependent in terms of the accumulation of resources and their distribution. Below is a schematic of a typical family unit in one of Hargeisa's Returnee camps. It illustrates the way in which as many as three households are tied to a primary income source supplemented by locally derived incomes and other assets.

Case Study: Family Network. Stadium, Hargeisa:

Returnee family of 13. It owns ten goats, which provide the family with a daily supply of ½ litre of milk for the Children. Also, the family owns some land in Burao (near livestock market)

In addition to assisting poorer urban relatives, a large proportion of urban residents support rural kin on a regular bases. According to our survey, 46 percent of Urban Households in Hargeisa support relations in pastoralist areas with monthly contributions in the range of $10 to $100 per month. Of those 46percent as many as 22percent are urban households who themselves depend on financial support from relatives living abroad. Consequently, the link between out-migration, urban households and rural kin is a crucial and distinctive element in Northern Somalia's informal economy.11

Family networks among returnees residing on the outskirts of Hargeisa are naturally less expansive. As opposed to the 45percent of urban households, who support relatives in rural areas, only 10percent of households in the returnee camps surveyed are able to support rural kin on a regular basis. However, as in urban households the proportion of households that extend to rural areas varies according to the camp. For example, the older and more established returnee camp of Sheikh Noor contains 20percent of households who support pastoralist relatives. On the other hand, in State House and Mohamed Mogeh-more recent settlements-only 5percent of households have the capacity to support rural relations.

Another important factor related to the economic livelihood and food security of both the urban and returnee populations is the asset base of the respective households. A large proportion of households surveyed possess a variety of assets in livestock and land. The most common is livestock, particular, goats, but a number of families own a wide variety of fixed assets including urban land and irrigated farms which serve as a hedge for families against future emergencies.

General Recommendations: Somaliland

The relocation and resettlement of IDPs granting security of tenure in cooperation with the local municipality should be a matter of urgent discussion between international agencies and governmental authorities.

The local government and municipal authorities should be encouraged to outline a clear policy statement with respect to their policy vis-a-vis IDPs in Somaliland. This should include clear guidelines with respect to the social and legal status of IDPs of southern origin.

There is lack of coordination among international agencies in terms of long-term assistance to IDP and Returnee populations. The primary reason is the problem associated with which agency has, or should have, a mandate to assist these communities. Efforts among international agencies to convene a joint committee have not materialized. As a result the little assistance delivered so far has been conducted on ad-hoc basis. The prospect of as many as 80,000 returnees arriving to northwest Somalia over the next 2 years raised grave concerns about the increasing economic and social burden to local municipal authorities and resident populations.

In light of the fact that IDPs, particularly those in Dima Camp, have complained that intended relief supplies are regularly diverted by local authorities, any further assistance from international agencies should be conducted with the consultation of the IDPs themselves.

In addition, the international agencies need to establish a mechanism of monitoring and evaluating the delivery of assistance.

A short-term food for work program for IDPs in Dima camp should be introduced to rebuild roads in Hargeisa that were destroyed by the 1999 floods. This would generate employment and improve the nutritional and health problems which are particularly acute among the Ajuran of Dima Camp.

In the short term, the extension of water to new settlements such as Mohamed Mogeh, State House and Stadium should be a top priority. However, there are a significant number of displaced persons squatting in public lands such as the State House area. These squatters must first be resettled, or leased new areas, before water, or other services, are extended to them.

Another important priority is access to better roads for those IDP and Returnees residing on the outskirts of Hargeisa proper. Roads should be rehabilitated via a labor intensive program that can serve as a source of badly needed employment for these communities.

A longer-term problem is urban planning. The municipality itself does not have the capacity or the funds for rehabilitation and reintegration of IDPs and returnees. Given the fact that thousands of more returnees are expected over the next two years it is vital that international agencies assists in the preparation and planning for the upcoming influx.

DRC has provided assistance to Sheikh Noor residents but this has not been sufficient. That is, while they provided an MCH and constructed badly needed latrines, the IDPs and Oromo refugees on the outskirts of the camp do not enjoy similar facilities. These IDPs and Oromo refugees require the construction of latrines and an MCH in close proximity to their huts.

The Ministry of Repatriation and Reintegration lacks basic information on the composition and needs of the returnees. A larger study should be commissioned, in cooperation with international agencies, that can serve to prepare the groundwork for fully integrated the returnee and IDP populations. This is vitally important given the fact that an estimated 80,000 additionally refugees from Ethiopia are set to return over the next two years.

2.1.2 Burao-Yirow (Toghdeer Region)

Remittance Inflows and Household Incomes

As with most Somali urban centers, a large proportion of households in Buroa-Yirowe rely on remittances either as their major source of income or to supplement other sources. As illustrated below, 38percent of households receive assistance. Of these 38percent 7percent rely on remittances as their major source of income. However, the vast majority, 93% receive irregular installments of remitted funds. The majority of families receive, on average, installments in the range of $100 to $150 three times a year.

Main Sources of Income: Urban and Haryan , Ajuran IDP Camps

While the local economy of Burao and Yirowe is relatively dynamic in terms of providing income-generating opportunities in market, service and trade activities, only a fraction of households in Buroa rely on remittances from expatriate relatives as their primary source of income. However, a large proportion (38 percent) of residents in Buroa-Yirowe receive remittances on an irregular basis as a form of supplementary income. The importance of the livestock market in Buroa proper, and the bustling commercial and trade activities in Yirowe offer employment in livestock brokerage, meat selling, and petty and commodity trade. As many as 93percent of households surveyed depend, albeit irregularly, on service, market and trade activities.

The socio-economic picture for IDPs from the south residing in Haryan (Burao) and Ajuran (Yirowe) camps is far worse. In the absence of a formal administrative and legal framework, the labor market in Buroa-Yirowe (as elsewhere) is regulated by clan and sub-clan networks. As a result, IDPs from Bay and Bakool, in this instance, find it very difficult to find gainful employment in the service, market or trade activities. Only 9percent of households in Haryan and Ajuran camps generate income from service and market oriented jobs, and there are no families that are engaged in trade dominated by the Isaak sub-clans of Haber Younis and Haber Jaalo. The fact that they are not pastoralists or merchants from the south has made it difficult for most to integrate into the local informal economy. They are separated from Yirowe residents and all its commercial activity As a consequence southern IDPs rely on their traditional survival mechanism, begging. As many as 93percent of households depend exclusively on the women and children of the household begging for either money or cooked food to sustain them. Nor do any families among the southern IDPs receive financial assistance from relatives living and/or working abroad.

Recommendations: Buroa-Yirowe

  • As with other municipal authorities, international agencies should encourage local authorities in Buroa to outline a clear policy in terms of the legal status of IDPs of southern origins in both Buroa and Yirowe.

  • There are significant income generating opportunities in trade, commerce and services in Buroa and Yirowe. Introducing micro-finance projects among poor urban residents and displaced would likely yield high rates of returns and provide improved incomes, particular to those not fortunate enough to receive remittance from expatriate relatives.

  • The Mayor of Buroa, Mohamed Hussein, should be assisted in his plan to construct market stalls in Buroa as a way of luring and integrating previously displaced residents now residing in camps in Yirowe.

  • The health and nutrition status of Ajuran and Haryan IDPs in Toghdeer is particularly poor. Both communities require immediate food assistance in terms of wet feeding as well as access to health facilities to serve women and infants. UNICEF recently conducted a nutritional assessment of Dima camp. These findings should be distributed immediately as a way to afford UNICEF and other agencies to intervene in what is an emergency situation at the moment.
Boroma: Main Sources of Income

While the percentage of remittance receiving households in Boroma are about 10percent less than the those in Hargeisa and Buroa-Yirowe, as many as 29percent of families in Boroma depend on assistance from expatriate relatives. However, the general economic picture of Boroma is slightly worse than in either Hargeisa or Burao. The majority of income generating activities are related to market oriented activities-particularly petty commodity and retail stalls. There are fewer opportunities in services (20percent) and trade proper (17percent) than in either Hargeisa or Buroa municipalities.

Remittance Inflows and Household Incomes

As a consequence of the lack of employment even in informal economic activity, remittance-receiving households are far more dependent on assistance from expatriate relatives than their counterparts in Hargeisa or Boroma. That is, although less households receive remittances (29percent as opposed to almost 40percent in Hargeisa and Burao), as many as 41percent of these families rely on remitted funds as their primary source of income.

Comparison of Urban and Returnee/Displaced Income Groups

While a Boroma Municipal official insisted that there is little difference in terms of standard of living between urban residents and returnees in Sheikh Osman, our survey illustrates a more complicated picture in terms of economic livelihood. The destitute population of Sheikh Osman, for example, is 14percent larger than their urban counterparts. However, there is little difference in terms of those living under poverty. Those who fall under the category of very poor and poor are 50percent in Sheikh Osman camp and only 5percent less (45percent) in Boroma town.

Recommendations by Sector: Boroma

- Livestock Sector

The most important priority is to rehabilitate infrastructure such as roads. At present it is difficult to travel from one district to another in Boroma easily. Boroma based livestock traders expressed the advantages enjoyed by traders in other Galbeed and Togheere districts, particularly with regards to infrastructure and transaction costs. For example, given high transportation costs the profit margin of Boroma-based traders is far below their counterparts in Hargeisa and Burao.

- Agricultural Sector

Due to floods, there has been great deal of soil erosion in Awdal. Moreover, some irrigated areas have mines and there needs to be de-mining in the area before many farmers return to cultivation. Further, there has to date been little sign of impact of previous extension programs in the region. While farmers were trained, they generally did not have the resources to cultivate their farms. They urgently need further inputs such as seeds, tools, etc. Within this context a number of issues need to be addressed.

  • The resource base of farmers is weaker than before the war. Previously, farmers were able to store their farming produce/production for 2 to 5 years. At present their stocks are all but depleted. As a consequence, there is no insurance for farmers at the moment as farmers have been forced to deplete their stocks.

  • Cereals are not harvested in a timely fashion. Moreover, there are no credit facilities whether from private or public sources. Farmers and livestock producers simply cannot get any credit from any source. It would be advantageous for international agencies to establish training and credit programs to support the growth of the agricultural sector.

  • Another problem is when production is booming there is a risk of flooding of markets by WFP food. Since farmers do not have a sound resource base, they are often forced to sell their produce all at once. The relationship of farming to livestock and food markets is a key determinant of economic and social well being of displaced communities in Boroma. This requires further research beyond the scope of this report.

- Urban Labor Market

Assistance is needed to create labor-intensive forms of employment. This could be done via infrastructural and road rehabilitation in town. In the past, a similar road project, sponsored by the EC, proved very useful for the community. An estimated 1,000 to 2,000 people found work and a significant number of farmers joined them to supplement their incomes. A similar project could ease the burden on the municipality posed by the return of thousands of more refugees to districts in Awdal region.

Recommendations with respect to returnees and IDPs

  • A major concern is with the impending repatriation of refugees. The plan at the moment is that camp residents will be given repatriation packages as UNHCR goes about closing camps in Ethiopia. This will be a burden on the already weak local economy. At present this is the main concern of municipal authorities who have to find employment as many as 70percent of urban residents. Labor intensive projects such as road building is one project suggested by the local authorities. Another suggestion is the introduction of micro-finance projects that involve women's groups who are at present very active in the urban economy and Boroma's livestock market. Women involved in the livestock market in particular indicated that since the only traders and butchers who are successful receive remittances from relatives, the poorer segments would benefit greatly from small loans.

  • It is not clear how many refugees will be repatriated and if they will come to Boroma. At the moment the estimate is that about 50percent of the estimated 80,000 future returnees will arrive in Awdal region. A coordinated plan for the integration and resettlement of this population is clearly required and demanded by the local municipality.

2.2 The Northeast (Puntland)

2.2.1 Bosasso

There are approximately 28,000 (twenty-eight thousand) displaced persons living in five sections in the outskirts of Bosasso town. The largest IDP population has settled in the eastern section of Bosasso. By most accounts the IDP population according to local authorities, poses great risks in terms of sanitation, and health. The meager shelter available is also vulnerable to frequent fires. The Mayor of Bosasso has complained about the fact that for the last ten years none of the international agencies have done anything about the IDPs in Bosasso. The Mayor has asked international agencies to provide assistance and prepare other sections of the city for the permanent settlement of the IDPs.

The local authority has in recent months made significant moves to begin to alleviate the plight of the IDPs. Most notably, the Mayor of Bosasso, has officially set aside public land measuring 400 x 400 meters with the expectation that UNICEF and other agencies would contribute to planning and resettlement of some IDPs. The idea of this pilot project is to provide shelter, the extension of water and proper sanitation as a model for future relocation of more IDPs presently living in severe conditions. However, this plot is sufficient to house only a small fraction of the IDP population and as such cannot, in itself, represent a viable solution for the majority of IDPs. At present, the implementation of this pilot has stalled owing to a number of crisis confronting the zone, including political and proper urban planning, an assessment of water needs, land management, and the strengthening of capacity building of the municipality.

There may also be potential disagreements between municipal and central authorities vis-à-vis a long-term policy towards the IDPs in Bosasso. For example, while the Mayor of Bosasso is quite willing to entertain the permanent settlement of these populations, the Minister of Interior informed us that he envisages the eventual return of these IDPs to their original areas with the assistance of UNHCR. In short, prior to any coherent policy with respect to the IDPs, it is vital that a clear and coherent policy be agreed upon both between local authorities as well as with the Puntland administration and international agencies.

The larger problem of the IDPs in Bosasso is the complete lack of urban planning and management of the town. While IDPs are the most vulnerable, the fact is that a high degree of land grabbing in which public land is spontaneously "privatized" by a resident landowner has worsened the status of the IDPs. More specifically, the landowners of land occupied by IDPs in Bosasso charge exorbitant rents not only for the occupied land, but also for the use of latrines and in many cases even the charge collection of water from shallow wells or water tankers. UNICEF officials have repeatedly discussed this issue with the camps' landowners and asked them to reduce the rents they charge for UNICEF constructed latrines and water facilities.

A significant number of the displaced population are very vulnerable to spontaneously and forced relocations. The insecurity of land tenure and ownership on the part of IDPs was cited as the primary concern of the majority of IDPs we interviewed. To make matters worse the security situation in the camps is quite precarious and often dangerous for residents of the IDP camps. This is a particular source of concern for non-Darod clans such as the Madhiban and others displaced from Bay and Bakool.

The following is an excerpt of an interview of a Madhiban displaced resident of Tuur Jaalo. It represents the extent to which the IDP population suffers from a wide range of social and economic hardships. The majority of men in the camp earn less than 10,000 Somali Shillings per day. After paying rent to the landlord and fees to the government of Puntland we are not left with enough to buy food for our children. Nor can we obtain decent government jobs such as soldiers, policemen, teachers, the port or other good jobs. We have no other opportunities but to work as petty traders, shoe-makes, shoe shiners, butchers or domestic workers. To maker matters worse the sandaqads (i.e. tents) we live in are costly, as we have to pay 20,000 to 40,000 shillings a month in rent to the landowners. As a consequence, you will find as many as three families (over 20 persons) living in one hut to afford the cost of this rent. We also have a number of orphans with no guardians as a result of the civil war and few people in the camp can afford to help them. Most of these children beg for food and sleep in the street. We also don't have any relatives to depend on like many other clans in the area, and we have received almost no assistance from international agencies and none from the Puntland government. Many of us are actually long-time residents of Bosasso but we are treated as foreigners by local residents. Sometimes our very lives are in danger. Since we are at the mercy of landowners we can be expelled from here at any moment. Furthermore, since few of us can afford to purchase food from our daily income we often borrow credit from local storeowners who are Darod. The problem is that when people are not able to pay in time they are beaten up and, in a number of cases, killed by their creditors. We are afraid to report many of these cases since we are always vulnerable to revenge attacks from the local residents. We did, however, complain to the Mayor's office but we received no encouraging response."

Main Sources of Income: Resident and IDP Population

Bosasso's highly unregulated economy has served as a magnet for economic migrants residing in the urban center as well as in the eight IDP camps surrounding the city.

Given the absence of strong administrative, regulatory and legal institutions, Bosasso residents enjoy, on average, more income generating opportunities in the still dynamic informal economy of the city. For urban residents work opportunities in market and trade related activities supports as many as 46percent of the households. However, economic migrants from south and central Somalia residing in the IDP camps dominate the service sector (composed of a generally unskilled labor force working in construction and as porters around the main port).

The majority (77percent) of Bosasso's estimated 28,000 IDPs work as unskilled and semi-skilled laborers. Although, IDPs serve as casual laborers, rarely finding regular work. However, given the fact that few of IDP households possess significant capital or other assets and they hail from marginalized clans and castes they have minimal opportunity to enter the market or trade sectors. The Majerteen and other Harti sub-clans dominate the latter. In fact, only 17percent IDP households can count on market activities as their major source of income; while only 4percent have the capital or social networks to enter the more lucrative informal trade sector.

Remittances also play an important role in supplementing incomes and establishing a modicum of economic well being. However, while as many as 38percent of urban residents enjoy assistance from expatriate relatives, only 2percent of IDP households receive remittance on a regular basis. Consequently, in addition to their vulnerability stemming from ethnic and geographical marginalization, the lack of access to remittance compounds the relative poverty of residents living in IDP camps.

It is important to note that capital derived from remittances is closely linked to trade and commercial activities in Somalia. As a consequence, remittances play a major role in opening up investment and income generating opportunities in these two sectors. In contrast to the remittance recipients, IDPs generally do not have similar access to capital with which to enter these more profitable sectors of the local economy.

Average Daily Incomes: Urban and IPD Populations

In comparison to Hargeisa, Bosasso residents enjoy a higher standard of living if we compare average daily incomes. While urban residents of Hargeisa earn, on average, about $1 a day, Bosasso residents earn over $4. Naturally, with respect to Bosasso, IDPs earnings are far lower. Most IDP households in Bosasso earn a daily wage of a little over a $1, which is more than 50percent, more than most returnee/IDP families living in and around Hargeisa. However, for Bosasso's IDPs these earnings are seasonally dependent.

There is less economic activity in Bosasso's main port during the summer months and since most IDPs work in activities associated with port trade, the figures cited above reflect earnings during the more busy winter months. Many IDPs said that since job opportunities decrease greatly in the summer, they often migrate southward towards Nugal and Mudug regions of Puntland. However, the significant income earning opportunities for IDPs explains the fact the most cite shelter, health and food as priorities rather than job opportunities . Nevertheless, conditions for IDPs in Bosasso are the most severe in northern Somalia. The majority are economic migrants, many with hopes of continuing their migration to nearby oil-producing Gulf countries. However, in recent years local authorities have tightened regulations and security around Bosasso port restricting the chances of many IDPs from travelling to the Gulf. In Bosasso, the issues are largely related to urban planning. In contrast, as noted below, IDPs in Mergaga camp north of Gelkayo are victims of drought. As such, they require different kinds of interventions.

Recommendations: Bosasso IDPs

  • There is a vital need for the implementation of an urban planning program for Bossaso town which would incorporate the wide range of planning problems of the estimated 30,000 IDPs in and around Bosasso.

  • There must be a clear and official recognition of the problem by the Puntland State. This must be stated in official policy by both municipal and central authorities. At present central authorities and local authorities are not in agreement in terms of the future of Bosasso's IDPs. Government officials would like most IDPs to be eventually repatriated to south and central Somalia, while the Mayor of Bosasso is keen to find a permanent solution within the context of the Bosasso municipality.

  • As an important pre-requisite for future investment and project assistance for the IDPs on the part of governmental and international agencies, is a legal framework for land-ownership and the legal status of the IDPs must be established.

  • To avoid raising expectations and avoid political and social problems, any project or service delivered to the IDP camps should be done so with the full consultation and participation of the elders of the respective communities.

  • An independent agency or local NGO with the full knowledge and cooperation of the Municipal and State authorities should monitor the abuse of human rights in the IDP camps which range from sexual assault and rape to homicide. The UN Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights (OHCHR)-Somalia should take the lead in this endeavor in cooperation with well-trained local NGOs.

  • Finally, there is a vital need for coordination between international agencies and NGOs with respect to Bosasso's IDP population. As yet, coordination and information sharing between agencies has been dismally poor. Africa 70s intervention in terms of mapping the composition and outlining the priority needs of the IDPs has yet to be supported seriously by other international agencies. Agency staff have pointed out that this stems from conflicting mandates and responsibilities and a lack of interest on the part of local authorities. However, our own research found that key governmental staff are keen to design and implement humanitarian and long-term assistance to the IDPs. Local authorities have shown their good faith by setting aside public land for a pilot resettlement project.

3.2.2 North Gelkayo12 (North Mudug)

Although generally integrated, or dispersed, throughout north Gelkayo, there are a large number of displaced persons in Gelkayo. These IDPs are mainly from the southern regions of Somalia such as Mogadishu, Bay and Bakool and Lower Juba due to security problems. WFP and a local Women's NGO (the Gelkayo Womens Group) estimated that there are 320 families of IDPs scattered around the outskirts of north Gelkayo.

There are generally three types of IDPs in Gelkayo:

  • The majority are those IDPs who were originally inhabitants of Gelkayo and belong to the Omer Mahmoud sub-clan of the Majerteen. These IDPs were forced to flee Mogadishu and Kismayo due to the civil conflicts in those towns.

  • The second category of IDPs are those belonging to the same Majerteen sub-clan as the first but who have been living in southern parts of Somalia for the last forty or fifty years.

  • Yet another group of IDPs are members of the Digil and Mirifle clans of Bay and Bakool, as well as some Hawiye, who fled to Gelkayo in search of security and work.

However, none of these IDPs live in camps. The majority have integrated with relatives and made use of their kinship networks to find reasonable shelter. The non-Majerteen IDPs have also been able to earn enough of a living to rent housing accommodations from the original inhabitants of north Gelkayo.

However, although Somali social and kin networks have been able to absorb a significant number of displaced families, it is important to point out that residents frequently complain of the great strain these newcomers have placed in terms of their general economic livelihoods. Moreover, according to Howa Aden's Women's NGO, there are increasing problems of street children and women forced to sleep on the streets of the town.

Mergaga Camp(IDPs)

Mergaga camp, approximately 14 km north of Baadweyne, is composed of an estimated 399 displaced families. In contrast to IDPs in Bosasso, those in Mergaga are the victims of drought rather than civil conflict. The majority of these families arrived in the middle of 1999 as a result of the severe drought which affected the pastoralists in 1998-99 throughout the regions of Nugal and Mudug. As of May 1999, an estimated 2,000 IDPs -around 320 families-settled in Mergaga to make use of the shallow wells in the area. The majority of the Mergaga IDPs arrived from Gelkayo, Galgadob, and Burtinle districts of Mudug. The majority is Majerteen, although a few families belong to other Darod subclans such as the Ogedanis and Marehan. Most of the displaced families in Mergaga are those who lost all their property, assets and livestock during the drought. In addition, the Mergaga IDPs appear to lack social networks of the type that would have enabled them to integrate among the urban population of Gelkayo. Moreover, none of the families report receiving any remittances or "gifts" from relatives abroad or in rural areas. The initial influx of displaced pastoralists occurred in late 1998 and continued to increase thereafter. Moreover, as the rain was quite poor throughout 1999 the number of displaced arriving in Mergaga increased over the course of that year. At the moment the number of new arrivals has ceased.

An important point pertaining to why the pastoralists now resident in Mergaga have not been able to adapt following the drought is linked to their precarious social position. Most IDPs whether those fleeing conflict in the south or those suffering from drought were generally able to integrate into Gelkayo. A number of these families benefited from assistance by way of remittances from relatives living abroad. In general, those who don't have families abroad are those forced to remain the Mergaga IDP camp. According to Gelkayo residents, the majority of pastoralists who were made destitute as a result of the drought came to Gelkayo and now live on remittances from families abroad. This is a familiar pattern of Somalis in the region. Those pastoralists with sufficient livestock rarely ask for financial assistance, but once they lose a significant stock of their animals they ask, and often receive, remittance support from their relatives. Some residents of Gelkayo informed us that they give as much as 50percent of their monthly salaries to their relatives in the rural areas -including nomads living across the border in Ethiopia. Those in Mergaga have no relatives, who can afford to assist them, a which makes them particularly vulnerable community.

The displaced pastoralists initially settled in Mergaga due to the presence of six shallow wells, which have served as a vital source of water for the community. Most of the permanent residents are women and children. The majority of the male population has moved out in search of work and incomes primarily to Bosaso, Gelkayo and Gerowe. It is possible the most would return if they were re-stocked but this needs further research and inquiry. However, it was clear during our visit that the majority of residents in Mergaga are increasingly reliant upon relief assistance with few families Having one independant wage-earner.

Another camp of drought victims formed outside the town of Hardo, but at the time of writing these families have been integrated into Harfo town. According the UNHCR field officer in Mudug, the IDPs in Mergaga did not do the same precisely because they were offered food assistance by local and international agencies unlike the Harfo IDPs. Indeed, Mergaga is the only camp of drought victims that received significant aid following the famine. However, there was no official aid as such that was given to Mergaga residents. UNICEF also indicated that it had provided water pumps to the camp, but we did not find any in the camp that were in operation.

Islamic Welfare Services

A few Islamic Welfare Associations (most notably Al-Ihsan) delivered aid to Mergaga. WFP gave some food rations, and a number of businessmen contributed assistance through Al-Ihsan. The "Islamic Refugee Committee" based in Baadweyne, and headed by Hassan Mahboub, managed to acquire financial assistance to deliver food to Mergaga residents through businessmen based in Baadweyne. The Islamic Committee also informed us that they receive financial assistance from Islamic societies overseas as well as from donations of Somalis based in Gelkayo. In addition, Hussein Egal, an MP in the Puntland Administration, donated 100 bags of rice and flour for the IDPs of Mergaga. Also the Somali Women's Organization of Puntland, headed by the wife of President Abdullahi Yusif, donated rice, sugar, flour and oil.

The Al-Ihsan organization has also opened two Qoranic schools in the camp and hired two young teachers to conduct classes. They have also produced a video of their activities in Mergaga camp in an effort to solicit additional funding for their relief activities.

At present the Al-Ihsan organization appears to be in complete control of the management of the Mergaga camp. Al-Ihasan officials also reported establishing a system and designing a plan to manage the camp. They are attempting to devise a proposal to "change the life-style" of the IDPs. This includes establishing an educational system and curricula for the children, and introducing new forms of income generating opportunities for the adult population. In terms of the latter, this entails the digging of boreholes and the cultivation of small farms as a way of establishing a permanent settlement in the area. In addition, to assist residents more fully, new arrivals are discouraged from settling in Mergaga, while those receiving external assistance from relatives (i.e. remittances) are asked to leave the camp for the urban towns. Al-Ihsan officials and a number of the village leaders informed us that most families do not have any livestock to return to their nomadic way of life, nor do they want to give up the new educational opportunities made available to their children. However, the fact that a number of families reported arriving from areas just 40km away from Mergaga implies a significant number (perhaps as many as 20percent) which are originally urban poor, rather than former pastoralists.

In general terms, Al-Ihsan want to initiate proposals targeting developmental rather than relief assistance. In their words, they want to "develop new approaches that are sustainable" all with the view towards assisting the population in the long, rather than the short, term. It should be noted, however, that a number of families we interviewed expressed an interest in returning to their nomadic life-style if they were provided with some kind of re-stocking program. Clearly, at this juncture the displaced families of Mergaga feel quite ambiguous about their future plans.

Recommendations: Mergaga IDPs

It is clear that the displaced population of Mergaga cannot expect to continue to rely food aid. A number of options should be considered, researched and carefully implemented:

  • One option is to consider re-stocking the displaced pastoralists of Mergaga and allow them to resume their nomadic way of life. Since, as pastoralists, they possess no other skills this policy seems highly appropriate. In short, they should be re-stocked and resettled in their original districts or else they will increasingly become dependent and over-burden their relatives and friends. As to the question of whether IDPs of Mergaga make good candidates for re-stocking the answer requires further research.

  • If, in the short term, food aid is the only option in terms of policy implementation, this should be done through WFP or local NGOs in a consistent manner that would guarantee food to the IDPs on a regular basis.

  • Perhaps the most practical and potentially most beneficial policy would be to implement a labor intensive program that would generate work and a pattern of self-reliance to the community-both in Mergaga as well in the pastoralist's home areas in Jarriban district. One option that has garnered the interest of both government and international agency authorities is a food-for-work road project that would connect villages in Jarriban to Garacad on the coast-a distance of 75 kilometers. Puntland administration officials and UN staff both agree that this project would benefit the IDPs in the short term, as well as open trade and market opportunities for the wider community in a sustainable manner. In particular, the rehabilitation of this road would provide opportunities to develop the fisheries sector in the region. The UN in Bosasso has already prepared an assessment report of the road project, which can be made use of in deciding on the feasibility of its implementation.


In south13 and central Somalia, conflict and natural disaster are the main causes of displacement from places of origin, however, they vary within the different IDP communities. Currently approximately estimates from recently survey revealed that there are as high as 87,770 IDPs mainly settled in major towns and villages in this portion of the country. This figure excludes Mogadishu IDP population which is estimated 150,000. Although there are disparities between in two separate studies conducted by ACF and UNDP Somalia.

Majority of the IDPs in these regions are classified to be from minority clan origin. Minority clans are often displaced because of persecution by dominant clans and because of their social standing in the society. In many part of the south, vulnerable group are confronted by number of difficulties including mine implanted in the roads which seriously inhibiting livelihoods and economic activity. In Bay region, all secondary roads are mined, the mines often being displaced by rains, while in Galgaduud region, people travel very carefully because of mines planted years ago.

The prevalence of long-term trauma among IDPs, women and children in particular was noted throughout the survey, as was the frequent resort to pharmaceutical drugs sold without any medical control, which often exacerbated the psychological problems.


Throughout the civil war, these three regions have seen some of the heaviest conflict in southern Somalia. Conflict relates to three central issues: control of the strategic and lucrative port town of Kismayo, control of valuable land well suited for agricultural development and pastoralism alike, and debates over which clan grouping has legitimate historical claims to these different territories.

The change of control in Kismayo in June 1999, considerably altered the regional strategic map. The evication of militia commanded by General Said Hersi 'Morgan' by the Juba Valley Alliance (JVA) has led to displacement of Majerteen and Harti communities and re-ignited claims over the rightful ownership of 'occupied territories'. Whereas Kismayo had been primarily accessible from the West Bank and, hence, the majority of Lower Juba, the city is now accessible from the East Bank and the road leading to and from Jilib, Merka and Mogadishu. The new security situation has limited regular population movements, as well as access to markets and social services available only in Kismayo town.

The Juba Valley regions are endowed with a wealth of natural resources. The region benefits from one of the highest rates of rainfall in Somalia (approximately 500mm to 700mm per annum). The rains, river and rich soil support a wide range of agricultural productivity. Wide-ranging pasture has led to the regions' high concentrations of livestock. The Kismayo seaport and the proximity of the Kenyan border provide market access. Further, both ocean and river fishing provide subsistence bounties and trade possibilities for a variety of groups.

However, the complex dynamic between drought and environmental degradation of other regions has constituted trend of population movement toward scarce river-fed areas, the increasing encroachment and competition between pastoral and agro-pastoral communities over resources which has lead to violence. There is also a clear imbalance between those clan and sub-clan groups which have the socio-political access to economic resources, including international aid, and those which are marginalised and excluded.

The regions contain a patchwork of different clans, sub-clans and minority groups. Population figures of the regions are difficult to estimate. A pre-war census established 500,000 inhabitants as the baseline. However, the area's history of large-scale displaced movement and seasonal migration patterns and recent urbanization, have rendered that figure uncertain at best. On the West Bank, the majority clan is Darod: Ogadeen. Other clans include Darod: Harti in Kismayo, and the coastal areas south of the town, Darod: Marehan in Gedo, and presently in Kismayo, Awramale to the west of Kismayo, Bajuni fishing communities on offshore islands, shakhal in Hosongow, Galjal pastoralists to the west of Kismayo, other minorities - particularly Bantu - spread across the river valley. On the East Bank, Ranhanweyn subclans intermix with Darod: Ogadeen, Dir: Biamal, Shakhal, Tunis and Bantu groups in other areas.

However, the civil war prompted the latest and probably the largest migration in Juba Valley area's history. Hundreds of thousands of Darods fled clan violence in Mogadishu by moving south. The IDPs primarily fled into Kismayo, but also into other areas of the west bank of the river and settled in the urban centers. Most of these urban Darods had never lived anywhere but Mogadishu, but the historic concentrations of Darod clans in the areas was seen as providing a safe haven.

Kismayo is accommodating the largest IDP population in the regions, which majority are women and children. But causes of displacement from places of origin vary within the different IDP communities in Kismayo (see annex for detail).

These IDPs and others throughout the Juba Valley regions are in extremely poor economic and security conditions as they have lost land ownership, household and productive assets. And they are now living in difficult social and political environment.

Some of the Rahanweyn IDPs displaced from Bay and Bakol regions during the occupation of Habargedir Militia led by General Mohamed Farah 'Aided' in 1996 to 1999, while other displaced groups are as result of natural disaster occurrences such as drought and /or flooding. The living conditions of the IDPs in most part of Somalia are considered to be poor, however, those living in main towns/villages of the Juba Valley regions are appalling - dwelling are constructed from sticks and grasses that give little protection from climate elements and few can afford to acquire plastic sheets to cover their homes. Both water and sanitation conditions are very poor since there are no latrines and waste disposal system.

Survey estimates around 500 persons living in Jilib, include 45 families of Werdai are identified to be IDPs from Bilisa and other villages in Middle Juba region. The Werdai have outstanding dispute with Ogaden with whom they have co-existed in the area pre-civil war. In more recent displacement, Bantus villages near Jilib were due to fighting within the community. Almost all IDPs in Jilib have little prospects of returning to their lands until the security condition improves. And this is dependent on resolution of disputes amongst feuding clans. The Awrmale and Arjuran have expressed their concern about the horrifying conditions they experienced during a drought periods in their home areas which they claim there is nothing to return to. In some areas of the regions, many IDPs have been exposed to economic exploitation by more militarized clans and loss agricultural lands.

In April 2002, situation in Gedo drastically deteriorated due to intra-Marehan clan conflict, which flared up and caused the displacement of around 15,000 persons either across the Kenya border or throughout the region away from armed conflict area. Whilst this report was being finalized, humanitarian agencies have found it virtually impossible to distribute food relief to vulnerable groups, including IDPs and / or monitor programmes in all the districts of the region. However, minimal supplementary and therapeutic feeding centers have been operational. In June 2002, humanitarian relief distribution was only being attempted in Bulo-Hawa [along the Kenya border] after the United Nations and other aid agencies negotiated access. Other districts in the region were not accessible for general food distribution and humanitarian assistance as land mines were put in the road to deter attacks.

The Rahanweyn constitute over 50% of the IDPs in Luuq. They came from Hudur and Wajid following the violence and occupation that occurred in Bakool and Bay region from 1995 to 1999. Despite harsh living conditions of the IDPs are ambivalent about returning to their original lands. For example the Marehan IDPs have expressed profound fear of the persisting insecurity and sporadic clashes between Marehan subclan which caused their displacement. The Rahanweyn IDPs indicate that that the situation in their original lands is not yet good for their return.

Additionally, gender based discrimination and violence, particularly rape of young girls and women is widespread. Women are attacked when they go out to collect firewood or earn living for the family. Women are vulnerable both internal male attacks as well as from other clans. These problems also attributed to the social and economic problems faced by IDPs.

Also the situation is being exasperated by the financial conditions of the people, as they have no means to pay for dowry to marry, although this problem did not exist before the civil war. In the past, usually the extended family would raise the dowry monies. However, now in a situation of displacement, it is difficult for the male population of the IDP to do so. As a result, forced marriage leading to domestic violence, rape, elopement and the abduction became the alternative norm.

As a consequence these new practices and increased rate of rape, many IDP women face continuous risk of loss of life, and high incidences of sexually transmitted diseases.


Clan: Hawiye: Hawadle, Galjael, Badia'ade, Jajeele, Makane, Digile & Mirifle: Garre, Tuni and Jido, Dir: Biamal and Bantu

Like most other southern regions of Somalia, Hiran, Middle and Lower Shabele regions have been severely affected by the armed conflict and its related causes have seriously affected many of its residents. During the heydays of the conflict large population displacement have been witnessed, where many left their lands to become IDPs or refugee in the camps in Kenya or totally leave the country to settle third countries.

As many Somalia observers underscored, reasons for the fighting in south Somalia was not merely political, but span a broad spectrum of competition for economic resources as well as unrestrained lawlessness and serious violations of human rights committed by all combatants. Hiran, Middle and Lower Shabelle are among the regions in the south where the powerful clans fought over the control of natural resources, including fertile land for pastoral and agro-pastoral use. The mind-set of the combatants were as such that in the elation of their cause that they appeared not to have had acknowledged any existing Somali traditional "customary law" or international rule of engagement i.e., civilian and non-civilian enemies.

The minority groups were worst affected as they formed the significant majority of the population in the three regions. Also, minorities were vulnerable since they were not party to the armed forces or network or clan safety net.

However, the Galagale clan in Mogadishu and Gedihir from Jowhar - were seen to have been allied with Said Barre regime and hence 'the enemy', while Bantu, Rer-hamer and Bravanese were targeted because of property, land and subjected to serious human rights abuses such as forceful eviction of their habitual residence.

For its proximity to Mogadishu and its high potential agricultural area, Afgoye has attracted thousands of people displaced from other regions affected by conflicts and droughts. The flow of IDPs into in the district was high during the first period of the armed conflict, between 1991 and 1994. However due to lack of adequate protection, most of the IDPs abandoned the district and migrated to other areas, including Mogadishu. The number of IDPs presently living Afgoye district and riverine areas can be estimated to be few thousands.

Kurtunwaerey is located in the Lower Shabelle region. Agro-pastrolists plus minority groups of Bantu run small-scale farmers have endured persisting insecurity and lack of proper attention, most of these displaced people fled Kurtunwarey to other areas where they can secure their safety and livelihoods. The number of IDPs presently living in Kurtunwarey and its surrounding areas are estimated to be 4200 people of whom the majority are women and children from Jido, Tuni and Bantu communities. The Jido and Garre were mainly displaced from Qoryoley by conflicts between Garre and Jido, while the Bantu were displaced from Sablale and Haway area by conflicts and famine resulted from their alienation from their farmers by the warring major clan factions in Sabalale and Haway area.

Because of insecurity and lack of resource and support, most of the IDPs have no hope to return soon to their original places. For example the Bantu IDPs do not intent to return soon. The Tuni and Jido have fear of attacks by the Jido and Garre militia who displaced them.


Profile and causes of Displacement

Bay and Bakool regions lie between the two main rivers of southern Somalia, the Juba to the west and the Shabelle to the south and east. Each consists of five districts; Bay: Baidoa, Bardale, Burhakaba, Dinsor, Qansahdheere, and Bakool: Al Barde, Hudur, Rabdhure, Tieglo and Wajid.

These two regions have been the worst hit during a decade of armed conflict. During this time, rival militia carried out a 'scorched earth' policy with deliberate destruction of infrastructure, theft of crops and livestock, underground grain pits and seed stocks, killing and destruction of towns and villages as well as laying of mines. Baidoa, known as the "city of death", was at the epicenter of the famine in 1992, during which thousands of person died. From 1991 hundreds of people were affected by armed conflicts of the civil war, lawlessness and subsequent displacement from many towns and villages of southern Somalia arrived in Baidoa to seek protection and assistance. However, most of them fled Baidoa due to a combination of insecurity and droughts resulted from the occupation of Bay region by various clans or power groups where the last one being the forces led by General Mohamed Farah 'Aideed' in 1995. During these times of occupation, its alleged that women were raped, water points destroyed and villages burnt to the ground.

Although severe droughts and starvation have ceased in many parts in Bay and Bakol region, most of the IDPs from the regions are unwilling to return soon, particularly those living in the north of the country, as there are limited economic resources in their original lands. Most lost all their properties while displaced. Many IDPs indicated that they are better off living away from home because of access to labor and other opportunities.

IDPs comprises of three broad food economy groups: pastoral, agro-pastoral and urban. Most are in living in absolute poverty, and are still in need of relief assistance. For survival IDPs generate income through manual jobs.


This study has revealed some important findings in relations to how displaced and returnee communities survive. In particular, there are some significant differences which international agencies have to account for in programming between host and displaced and returnee populations. Such differences include the levels of remittance support, access to land and labor opportunities.

Although the armed conflict has affected every region, the southern regions are the most affected. One of the findings the study on displacement stresses in the various regions of the country show that the majority of the displaced people are from communities in the south, and the major causes of their displacement are armed conflicts accompanied by violence, human rights violations and droughts. Women and children are the most vulnerable in all IDP locations.

The minority groups are outside the Somali social lineage divisions, therefore, they have no clan clan protection. Lack of clan protection has made minority groups vulnerable to attacks by the various clan militias who are engaged in fighting for control of resource and territories.

It is hoped that this study will contribute to the efforts of the UN agencies, NGOs and donors in assisting the local authorities prepare and implement an integrated strategy which not only address the needs to absorb returning refugees, but also the largely ignored problem of the forgotten minority and the displaced groups.


1 Combined report refers to two separate studies conducted in north and south Somalia in 2000 and 2001, respectively by UNCU/UN-OCHA.

2 Definition in the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement

3 UNCU study 2000

4 Ibid

5 UNCU study 2001

6 ACF 2000

7 The classification "Minority" refers to the mentioned groups. However, when a majority clan is displaced into an area where they have no clan kinships, such a clan effectively becomes a minority group by virtue of its numerical insignificance and/or the types of discrimination and marginalisation that the clan members suffer.

8 Interagency Returnees Settlement Areas Assessment Report, May 2002.

9 The Dir sub clans include Biamal, Gadsan, Gadabursi, Fiqi Muhumud, Samaron, Qubeys, Werdai and Akishe. The Issak are subdivided into Habar Awal, Habar Jalo and Habar Yunis, Edigale, Ayub and Arab. The Digil and Mirifle are subdivided into sub clans. The Digil include Geledi, Shanta Aleen, Bagadi, Garre, Tuni, Jido, and Dabarend while the Mirifle are divided into Siyed and Sagal. Some of the major subclans in the Mirifle group are Laysan, Harin, Elay, Boqol Hore, Jiron, Jilible, Gelidle, Hadame, Luway, Huber and Yantar.

10 These categories designate political as well as ethnic divisions. The Arab sub-clan managed to "remain" in Hargeisa longer than other residents do because they managed to maintain a neutral position during the 1994-1996 civil conflict between the Haber Awal and Garhajix communities. The Haber Awal fled like the Garhajix to camps across the border in Ethiopia. The Garhajix fled but benefited little from the conflict in comparison to the Haber Awal (President Egal's sub-clan) which is perceived to have greatly profited from currency speculation following the introduction of the new Somaliland Shilling by President Egal in late 1994.

11 The above figures are cumulative of Hargeisa town. However, the density of family networks is naturally contingent on the incomes of particular households and thus varies by sub-district. For example, for the sub-districts of Mahmoud Hebye, Gacan Libaax, Ahmed Dhagax, 26 June and Koodbur the proportion of households supporting rural relatives was found to be 55percent, 60percnet, 27percent, 30percent and 56percent respectively.

12 We are grateful to Beshir Ahmad Khalef, UNHCR field officer in Gelkayo for information on IDPs in Gelkayo and Mergaga. Interviewed on 21 January, 20000.

13 For detail information regarding the southern Somalia IDPs survey - see annex

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