Somalia

Somalia: Report on rapid inter-agency situation assessment to the coastal areas of Awdal Region: 20-23 Mar 2005

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Executive Summary
Based on recent reports by the Somaliland Authorities on occurrence of drought and malnutrition in Awdal region, an interagency team consisting of UNICEF, WFP, NERAD, Ministry of Livestock, FSAU and OCHA visited the coastal areas of Awdal region from 20 to 23 March 2005. The purpose of the mission was to undertake a rapid interagency situation assessment of the areas to examine the overall situation, and assess the magnitude and the nature of the problem. The team (5 males and 1 female) visited four sites in Zeila district and 3 sites in Lughaya district. Methodology used comprised review of secondary data, physical observation and focus group discussions with community members.

Main findings

- The security situation in the visited areas was stable and calm. However, the increased pressure on the natural resources in the region is gradually straining the current stability;

- The 2004/2005 in-migrations from Shinille zone of Ethiopia into the coastal areas of Awdal have increased by 25-30% compared to normal years thus exerting more pressure on limited natural resource;

- Livestock conditions in the areas is generally poor due to reduced pasture, animal diseases and long travel distance in search of water and pasture. This has in turn reduced food availability at household level (particularly milk production) as the communities rely mainly on livestock and livestock products. Veterinary services are almost non-existent in the visited areas;

- High mortality among the cattle from Shinille zone was mainly attributed to diseases and long distance walk;

- Several indicators verified food scarcity in the visited sites e.g. reduction in purchasing power (2 shoats for 1 bag of rice compared to 1 shoat for 1 bag at normal times), low quality of livestock and changes in food consumption (reduced number of meals and reduced food intake);

- The rapid nutrition assessment conducted by UNICEF, based on Mid Upper Arm Circumference (MUAC), indicated a global malnutrition rate of 17.7%. Anaemia was also observed among women and children;

- Lack of female staffing at health facilities: especially midwives, hence limiting the accessibility of women for these facilities. Besides there are no emergency obstetric facilities in the proximity.

To mitigate and prevent further deterioration of the situation, the team recommended the following short-term interventions:

Food Security and Nutrition

- Close monitoring of the food security situation;

- There is need for food assistance to maintain the nutritional status of the population in concern, the modality for food distribution (duration, targeting, ration & modality) will be further elaborated by WFP;

- Provision of supplementary food for the malnourished children including micro-nutrient supplements and complemented by general relief rations;

- Conduction of a comprehensive nutrition survey;

Livestock

- Mobilization of mobile veterinary teams;

- Conduction of a comprehensive study of the livestock diseases in the areas;

Health

- Establishment of mobile health teams to conduct outpatient check-ins and measles care management;

- Promotion & support for the recruitment of female health personnel

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