Somalia: SOS Hospital in Mogadishu reopens

The SOS Hospital in Mogadishu had been closed for almost three weeks due to heavy fighting and follow up action in the area. Last Saturday, as troops left the area, the hospital reopened.

The SOS Hospital in Mogadishu reopened last Saturday, 12 May after being closed for nearly three weeks due to heavy fighting between allied government/Ethiopian troops and insurgents. Although the fighting ceased two weeks ago, follow up action by the allied troops prevented people from moving freely around the area, keeping the hospital closed.

The troops have now left the area and the hospital reopened as two doctors, seven midwives, five nurses and a number of support staff all returned to work. The hospital is a free service to the women and children of Somalia.

Wilhelm Huber, director of SOS Children's Villages for East Africa, said, "We are all very pleased with these developments, which confirm what we knew from experience: that once the situation calmed down, SOS co-workers would resume their work of providing health services to the women and children of Somalia." At the same time, all SOS families and youth have now returned safely to the children's village, located next to the hospital. Huber added that he was very pleased with the way the crisis had been handled by the team in Mogadishu and Nairobi, who managed the situation well, analysing all the information and planning ahead. He also commended them for the way they kept in contact with the SOS families, youth and co-workers throughout the crisis and how they had quickly adapted to the rapidly changing circumstances.

"We are now waiting for the international community to move back into Mogadishu," Huber continued. "Once additional NGOs move back to the city we will think about sending the three Italian Consolata Sisters (who were long-term volunteers in Mogadishu) back to the village to continue their humanitarian work. They are ready to return at any time. Like them, we must have the courage to go on."

During the heavy fighting in Mogadishu in late April, part of the SOS Children's Village and a hospital ward full of wounded people were shelled. The damage in the village is repairable, Huber said, but the hospital ward is beyond repair and for everyone's safety, will soon be demolished.