Somalia

Somalia: Weekly Humanitarian Bulletin No. 47, 04 - 18 Dec 2009

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Key Overall Developments

According to Famine Early Warning Network (FEWSNET), above-average rainfall was forecasted for the ongoing Deyr rains (October-December) in Somalia due to the current El Niño event. These rains were expected to contribute to a reduction in food insecurity following several consecutive failed rainy seasons. However, while October rains were above normal in some parts of the country and generated some moderate improvements in pastoral conditions, little rain fell during November in northern pastoral and central rainfed cropping areas. This raises serious concerns about the prospects for recovery in pastoral areas and the performance of the Deyr rains harvest expected in January/February. The performance of the December rains will be critical to food security outcomes over the coming months.

Owing to resource shortage, WFP has to prioritize life-saving activities and reduce rations for December. The agency has prioritized wet feeding (cooked meals) in Mogadishu, hospital in-patient, and child ration through the targeted supplementary feeding programmes. Additionally, priority will be given, albeit a reduced general food distribution (GFD) ration to humanitarian emergency areas and to internal displaced persons (IDPs) living in Afgooye. The revised rations include 37.5kg of cereal and 10kg of Corn Soya Blend (CSB). Given the up-coming harvest (January/February), GFD for the southern regions in humanitarian emergency will not be prioritized in the distribution plans for January 2010. Depending on food availability, WFP will focus GFD only in the central regions where there is no harvest and where recent malnutrition surveys show a continuing critical situation, as well as, for the IDPs in Afgooye. The prioritization was made in consultation with the nutrition cluster.

The 16th meeting of the International Contact Group on Somalia (ICG) was held under the chairmanship of the UN Special Representative for Somalia, Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, on 17 December in Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Around 45 delegates from ICG members, observer countries, and international organisations attended the meeting. The Organisation of the Islamic Conference indicated interest, during the ICG meeting, in opening a humanitarian mission in Mogadishu in January 2010, to assist in the reconstruction of Somalia. It also announced that its Humanitarian Affairs Department, along with civil society organisations, will fund US$50 million worth of humanitarian projects in the field of poverty alleviation, relief and small-scale projects.

On 17 December, Al Shabaab suspended the UN Mine Action programme in Baidoa (Bay region) and took control of the programme's compound. Earlier this week six children from the same family were killed by an old landmine near the central town of Balanbale in Galgaduud region. Mines riddle the Somali countryside and were first laid in 1964 and during subsequent wars with neighbouring Ethiopia. In Mogadishu, clashes between government forces and insurgents continued during the week at a relatively higher scale compared to previous weeks.

Over the weekend (12-13 December), at least 24 people, mostly civilians, were killed and more than 30 others injured during heavy clashes between government forces and insurgents. According to media reports, insurgents fired mortars towards Villa Somalia (The Presidential Palace), prompting response from government forces who shelled northern and southern areas of the city. Similar clashes were reported throughout the week. UNHCR's Protection Cluster Update, estimates that 88 people were killed and 193 others injured from 27 November to 11 December throughout the country. Since 1 September, a total of 66,000 people have been displaced countrywide primarily due to insecurity and drought. In Mogadishu, 29,000 people have been displaced due to conflict, 22,500 have left the city, while 6,200 have moved to relatively calm districts within Mogadishu.

On 15 December a crowd, close to 300 people gathered, in front of the Office of the Bossaso Mayor (Puntland) demanding the expulsion of people from Bay and Bakool regions from Puntland. The demonstration later turned into looting targeted against people from these two regions.

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