Somalia

Somalia: Situation Report No. 41 - 17 Oct 2008

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Key Overall Developments

Civilians continued to bear the brunt of continued fighting in Mogadishu. According to UNHCR, an estimated 5,500 people were displaced from the city during the week and over 61,000 since 21 September.

On 09 October, at least 100 people were reported missing in the Gulf of Aden after being forced overboard by smugglers off the coast of Yemen. Some 47 people survived the ordeal and they were received at the UNHCR Mayfa reception centre. Since January, more than 33,000 people have arrived at the Yemen coast, with at least 230 reported dead and an estimated 365 others missing.

The Dutch government is sending a naval ship to take over the escort of WFP food shipments from the Canadian frigate which is ending its mission on 23 October. The Dutch frigate will end its mission on 10 December during which it is expected to have escorted some 100,000 metric tons of assorted food commodities into Somalia. This is the second time this year (April to June) that the Dutch government is providing these escorts. The waters off the Somali coast are considered the most dangerous in the world. This year alone, pirates have seized more than 30 vessels.

On 10 October, two abducted Doctors of the World (MDM) staff members were displayed to journalists in a house in Mogadishu. The two doctors were able to talk to the journalists, requesting their abductors to release them. The doctors were abducted in Ethiopian's Somali region on 22 September.

On 16 October, the Somali Water and Land Information Management (SWALIM), issued an advisory of moderate flood risk on the Juba River at Baardheere, Gedo's lower reaches of the river and the surrounding areas. The advisory was issued amidst reports of rains in the Ethiopian highlands, which could translate to high water levels downstream in Somalia's Shabelle and Juba rivers in the coming days. SWALIM is closely monitoring the situation.

Response and gaps

On the UN Hand-washing Day (15 October), UNICEF carried out demonstrations of hand washing with soap. Soap and posters with the message (in Somali) 'Our Health is in Our Hands' were distributed. Approximately 20,000 children participated throughout the country. According to UNICEF, water-borne diseases account for almost 20 per cent of deaths of children under five in Somalia, and only a quarter of Somalis have access to adequate sanitation facilities.

UNICEF and partners continue to provide safe drinking water to over 100,000 IDPs, trucking over 2,000,000 litres daily. Along the Afgooye corridor, UNICEF and local partners provided emergency school tents and foundations for 20 classrooms enabling access to education for another 1,000 children. This brings the total number of beneficiaries to 15,000. During the week, around 370 head teachers from Gedo, Bay and Bakool regions were trained in management, educational psychology, as well as emergency education by UNICEF. The training also included topics in nutrition and HIV/AIDS Approximately 70,000 children will benefit from this training due to the expected improvement in the quality of education service delivery. .

WFP will undertake direct distribution to beneficiaries of Supplementary Feeding, Mother and Child Health Centres and Social Support Programmes in Xudur and Rab Dhuure districts, Bakool region. These programmes were being implemented by the NGO, International Medical Corps (IMC), which suspended its operations following orders by Al Shabaab. In September, WFP provided 836 metric tons of food aid through SFP, MCH and SS programmes in Bakool region to 36,000 beneficiaries. According to FSAU assessments, Global malnutrition rates in Bakool stand at 25.5%, one of the highest in Somalia.

For further Information in English, contact: Rita Maingi on +254 734 800 120 - maingir@un.org,

In Somali, contact: Mona Mohamed on + 254 733 643 737 - mohamed26@un.org

Website address: http://ochaonline.un.org/somalia

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.