Somalia

UNCT Somalia Monitor 01 - 29 Feb 2000

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I. What's New
The Somalia Aid Coordination Body (SACB) issued a statement on 7 February, on the humanitarian and security situation in the Southern regions of Somalia. In the statement, the SACB has expressed concern at the increased number of attacks on civilian populations, humanitarian workers and convoys carrying relief assistance. The statement reiterated that the local authorities need to cooperate with the relief agencies and workers in order to ensure unhindered access to vulnerable populations.

Between 7-9 February, the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator accompanied the representatives of WFP, UNICEF and CARE to Bay and Bakol in order to resolve various issues relating to agency operating environments in the area. The mission met with local authority in Baidoa where various commitments were made by the authority with regard to protection of aid workers, return of misappropriated property, taxes and the hiring of staff. These discussions will be followed by a more comprehensive dialogue on 'ground rules' with the authority.

The inter-agency assessment of Gedo was completed. This comprised a number of UN Agencies and NGOs, including Amref, Trocaire, Memisa, NCA and ACF, led by the FSAU and the UN Coordination Unit. The final report is being completed due for release in the first week of March. Findings include the need to address marginalised agro-pastoral communities living around Burdubo, Garbaharey, and north-east of Luuq, and urban displaced in Luuq and Buulo Xaawa.

MSF Belgium has resumed operations in Kismayo following a week-long assessment at the Kismayo General Hospital. MSF Belgium expatriates has pulled out of the region in June last year and consequently suspended operations in November 1999. In a statement by MSF Belgium, the community had met minimum conditions required for the resumption of activities. The UN is following this opening with a security assessment.

In a press release issued on 23 February, the Bay Centre of Conflict Prevention urged Somali warlords to stop depleting Somali marine-life. According to the Centre, Somali warlords are said to have entered into fishing vessel-licensing arrangements with foreign countries and illegally provide fishing access rights in demarcated areas of the Somali coast. As a consequence, huge marine losses are caused in Somali waters, which in turn effects the long-term socio-economic welfare of coastal communities.

II. General Update

Whilst much of the focus within Somalia is on the development of the Djibouti peace process, the entering of the third month in the dry jilaal season is a reminder that there are tens of thousands of marginalised Somalis who are increasingly vulnerable to food insecurity and concomitant malnutrition, disease and death.

Joint assessments in Gedo and Bakool indicate that vulnerable populations are reducing food consumption in order to preserve their few remaining assets, and that unless relief is forthcoming in the next few months, that bereft of assets, there is a likelihood that there will be accelerated population movements to urban areas, and increased morbidity and mortality.

The prospects are not good. The Climatic Outlook Forum for the Greater Horn of Africa, held in Tanzania early in February, predicated a probable 50% below normal rainfall, a 30% probability of normal rainfall and a 20% probability of above normal rain during March - May. If the gu rains do fail, much will depend on the resources and access available to international agencies to ensure integrated intervention.

There have been outbreaks of conflict between the RRA and sharia militia in Lower Shabelle around Kurtum Warney and Qoryooley, and amongst Hawiye sub-clans in Mahhaday Weyne above Jowhar. The most significant impact this insecurity is upon restricting population and commercial movement which in turn has increased prices, thereby reducing access to food to low income groups.

A. Food Security

Gedo and Bakol: A joint inter-agency mission began in the Gedo region on 7 February with a high level of participation and collaboration. The assessment found that due to the predominance of pastrolists in the region and the presence of the Wabi Juba, drought conditions are not equivalent to those in Bakool region. However, there remain serious concerns about marginalised agro-pastrol groups, the urban poor and displaced population. According to a UNICEF survey, the global malnutrition rate is 24% in Bardhere, the most active economic centre in the region. This implies that the nutritional status in northern parts of drought affected areas in the region are much worse.

WFP commenced their distributions in the Bakool region. 260 Mts of food aid was distributed to 200,000people in Wajid district during late January. Another 570 tones of food aid is expected to arrive in Elberde, Rabdure and Wajid at the end of February. This will be the first food aid in the two former locations since mid-199, where in the past, distributions have been limited due to insecurity. CARE have commenced distributions in Gedo region, halted due to a shooting and injury of a staff member conducting food distributions north of Garbaharey on 25 February. UNICEF also supported displaced communities in Burdubo with 244 bags of supermix and an additional 200 bags were distributed in Garbaharey town.

Northern Haud area: dry jilaal conditions in the north-eastern part of the region have initiated movement of herders and some pastrolists out of the area in search of food and water. These families tend to migrate to towns where water is available and several of them have started arriving in Hargeisa. Such nomads travelling from the Haud area into town in search of water and fodder are bringing reports of drought-like conditions to Hargeisa. This has provoked a request from the administration's Drought Committee consisting of members from 5 ministries to undertake a reconnaissance mission throughout the area. Several agencies have responded with assistance.

Protecting Livelihoods: in Lower Shabelle region, FAO Somalia launched a short-term project to rehabilitate 30 sluice gates and 30 irrigation canals that supported 20,000 hectares land. The irrigation systems when repaired will prevent the irrigation canals from flood damages. The project activities are being carried in collaboration with the International NGO Water for Life. For the management of the use of the canals, the local community will nominate a canal committee. A technical group responsible for the maintenance of the gates and canals will also be nominated. The Canal committee and technical group will be trained in rehabilitation of the canals and gates and will after the end of the project be responsible for the rehabilitation of the canals. Along the Shabelle and Juba rivers FAO started a short-term Home Gardening project for improvement of Food security and nutritional situation. The project targets 15,000 women farmers by providing them with a variety of vegetable seeds and agricultural tools. The target beneficiaries of the project will be trained in agricultural production practices and the importance of a diversified diet. The project aims at raising vegetable production for home consumption as well as for the local market and to raise nutritional knowledge of the nutritive value of vegetables.

B. Health and Nutrition

Reports received from UNICEF indicated 27% of children assessed were vaccinated against measles over the past 6 months, 1% before 6 months and 72% were not vaccinated in the southern and central areas. Due to greater access in the south, UNICEF supported health facilities and provided assistance to 26,041, under five children during the month of February. The total number of beneficiaries has increased by 26%.

During a monitoring exercise in Huddur, Tiyeglo, Rabdure and Wajid districts in the Bakool region, a UNICEF nutrition officer observed the need to improve the current supplementary food distributions recording and overall reporting system. This has resulted in the planning of a refresher-training course on standardised recording and reporting systems, which is scheduled for March.

Cholera : The two Cholera Treatment Centres in Mogadishu run by MSF Spain and ACF respectively reported that over the period 22 January - 18 February, there were 132 cholera cases with 4 deaths.

Following reports about a cholera outbreak in Qoryoley and Merca districts, the Regional Cholera Task Force carried out an assessment and a CTC was set up in the MCH centre and ORS dispensing sites in the villages at the Health Posts. The worst affected village in Qoryoley District is Gaywarow. Stool samples collected from the area tested positive for cholera. So far, there have been 60 cholera cases with 19 deaths. The highest case fatality rate occurred in Saqawadin, a section of Gaywarow. There are no NGOs present in the area to support any cholera activities. However, COSV has been requested to mobilise their resources in the field to control the outbreak through their staff in Merka. WHO has provided cholera supplies and chlorine for chlorinating water sources. On site training for cholera case management has been given to CHWs at the CTC.

The SRC health officer together with a local fishing companies have improved community sanitation and hygiene in Jiriban District, Puntland following reports of suspected cholera cases. The cases however, have still not been confirmed.

NIDs: Immunisation activities for polio eradication were conducted during the early part of February in some of the remaining areas of central and southern Somalia mainly the Lower and Middle Shabelle regions. A total of 323,570 children under 5 years of age were vaccinated. Since November 1999 more than 1.03 million children have been vaccinated in most of the accessible regions of Somalia (results from some regions are still being compiled).

AFP Surveillance: During surveillance of AFP (Acute Flacid Paralysis) cases, 14 new cases have been identified in Somalia during January and February 2000. Polio/paralysis Surveillance sites were set up in Somalia since 1998, and covers 15 of the 19 regions in the country. Since the setting up of the surveillance sites, no wild poliovirus (which is responsible for polio paralysis) has been isolated.

WHO Programme Review Meeting: A one-day joint review meeting on implementation of WHO programmes was held in Hargeisa on 15th February 2000 in coordination with the Ministry of Health staff. Activity implementation, progress constraints and plans for the year 2000 was discussed with the Ministry and programme staff.

C. Education

According to reports from the press in Somaliland, Somaliland expatriates residing in UAE have initiated efforts to raise funds for the Amoud University. The University, established in 1997 in Boroma is essentially a community project that has been supported through the international community's goodwill as well as that of the Somaliland expats residing in UAE. The first university in Hargeisa was inaugurated on 15 February. The university received consignment of furniture from Somaliland communities living in Europe. Over 1,000 persons attended the ceremonies marking the inauguration.

A Civic Education programme was held in Garowe from 3 - 15 February and received participation from Somalis from different regions and Djibouti. This was greatly affected by the Puntland administration's decision not to send participants to attend workshops in Somaliland. However, the Somaliland government, in a press release stated that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had requested the Police Immigration department of Somaliland not to ask for entry permission or visa for Somali nationals.

In Garowe, from 13 January to 14 February a teacher education course was held for teachers of Nugal Region to upgrade teachers and social workers up to Grade 8 level. Another course was held 17 to 24 February on training in leadership was held for Community Education Committee members to promote community ownership of schools.

In the southern and central regions, 107 primary school head teachers from the Baidoa district received training on the use of new education kits. Community leaders and authorities participated in the opening ceremonies.

The construction of the basketball playground in Jowhar by Farjano had been completed. Another basketball playground and football pitch was rehabilitated in Baidoa.

D. Water and Sanitation

UNICEF carried out various activities, which included the construction of an elevated water tank, one generator room, cleaning of one borehole and kiosks for the Bardera community in efforts to promote prevention of a cholera outbreak. Further, the rehabilitation of seven berkads constructed by UNICEF last year in IDP camps were among some of the activities carried out in the south and central region. 18 hand-dug wells with hand pumps were completed in the Bakool region. UNICEF has signed an agreement with InterSOS for the rehabilitation of 6 boreholes and 30 hand dug wells in Berdale, Baidoa and Burhakaba districts in the Bay region.

In another agreement between OXFAM Quebec and UNICEF, rehabilitation of 30 hand dug wells, installation of an Afridev hand pump and construction of sanitation facilities in 5 schools will take place in Buulo-Burte, Mahas and Jalalaqsi districts in the Hiran region.

The rehabilitation of the former MSF France engine will be carried out following an agreement between UNICEF and the Bardera water committee.

The Kismayo Women Organisation have carried out a voluntary garbage collection campaign in Kismayo as part of cholera prevention activities, using materials provided by UNICEF. Training and mobilisation for health workers/chlorinators and other categories of communities have been completed for 47 social mobilisers in Bardera and 72 from Baidoa District.

E. Repatriation and Reintegration

A study, commissioned by the UN Coordination Unit and supported by FSAU, on internal displacement and remittance inflows in Northern Somalia has just been concluded. The study addresses social, economic and political issues pertaining to the overall status of the displaced and returnee populations in northern Somalia, with special focus on economic livelihoods particularly the role of remittances in household incomes. A detailed copy of the report will be available from the UNCU at the beginning of March.

UNHCR repatriated a total of 823 persons to Bossaso from the Dadaab and Kakuma (686 and 137 respectively) refugee camps in Kenya. In the resettlement, 763 persons were repatriated to Bossaso whilst the remaining 60 persons were repatriated to Berbera.

UNHCR continue to reinforce those projects already in place since 1999, i.e. Health clinic and MCH in Bosasso and the rehabilitation of a primary school in Galkayo, water reservoir in Bari region for the benefit of the returnees. In addition to this, UNHCR are supporting a community service project that aims at empowering the income generation capacity of women heads of household to enhance their self-sufficiency.

F. Gender and Human Rights

Preparation for the International Women's day, which will be held on 8, March are underway in various regions in Somalia. The theme this year is "Women making Peace or Women Waging Peace".

A press release dated 10 February by the Bay Center for Conflict Prevention (BCCP), a platform for Rahanweyn Intellectuals and Clan elders, accused the Aideed forces of causing serious suffering to thousands of Rahanweyn civilians. BCCP has urged the international community to condemn the evil acts and send a message to Hussein Aideed.

A team of visitors in Somaliland learned that suspected mass graves had been found at the Berbera airport. The Chief of Investigation Department accompanied the visitor to the site where a mapping exercise was underway. Somaliland authorities requested the International community's assistance in the investigation. The Office of the High Commission for Human Rights has been following this issue for three years and public UN reports are available from the UN Coordination Unit on request.

III. Development Activities

UNOPS and UNDP mine action teams visited Somaliland to review the Mine Action programme, from 5 - 14 February. The teams held discussions with local authorities, UN agencies and project staff and INGOs working in the area. The mission reviewed the mine action component of the civil protection programme with a view to strengthen aspects of coordination, capacity building to Somali Mine Action Centre (SMAC) and National demobilisation agencies. Upon their return, the mission together with programme staff attended a PAC of the project for SACB and participated in Donor discussions here in Nairobi.

An overall social economic assessment of Somaliland in economy and social sectors was conducted by UNDP during January and February. The outcome of this mission is a comprehensive country study that will be used by the Somaliland administration as a reference document for their discussions with international and bilateral donors.

UNDP held a donor briefing "UNDP Somalia on the Move: Anticipating the Future" was held in Nairobi on 21 February. The purpose of the briefing was to give the donors an overview of UNDP's activities and future role in Somalia The briefing addressed various issues which included a brief by the UNDP Resident Representative on UNDP Somalia at the cross-roads, UNDP in transition and UNDP Somalia in perspective.

In preparation of the Tripartite Review scheduled for April 2000, UNDP have fielded a mission to Puntland and Somaliland to hold discussions with local authorities on programme and policy issues. The mission will also conduct the monitoring of projects and discussions with other program managers and staff on issues concerning UNDP programmes.

IV. Operating Environment

In a letter signed by the Director General of International Cooperation and National Reconciliation to the International community, the Puntland authorities have exempted the international community of the US$ 100 exchange upon arrival in Puntland. The exemption is limited to official delegations, the two senior most personnel of International organisations and residents in Puntland of international communities and NGO staff.

A CARE staff member was shot in Garbahare during a food distribution on 24 February and injured in his arm. CARE has suspended food deliveries in the area.

The UN Zone Security Officer in collaboration with the UN Focal Point and the EC liaison Officer have completed the standardisation of all VHF handsets communications in Somaliland as a first phase of an overall communication strategy. Other activities proposed for the strategy include the installation of an emergency channel, repairs and maintenance programme and provision of operation handbooks.

V. Political Update

Much of the political events in Somalia have started to evolve around the Djibouti peace plan. President Guelleh did an extensive tour of Kenya, Ethiopia, Yemen, Egypt, Chad and Algeria to hold consultations with the leadership of the countries involved to obtain support for the process. He also held consultations with the Somali communities. In addition he briefed the liaison group of the IGAD Partners Forum in Djibouti on 7 February. UNESCO-PEER festivals for the Year of Culture and Peace will be incorporated in the process and will also provide a forum for Somali actors to exchange views on what needs to be done.

The UN Secretary General has supported the process by seconding Mr. David Stephen, Representation of the Secretary General to Somalia, to the Djibouti government in an advisory capacity.

Upon return to Mogadishu following a long absence, leaders of the Habr Gedir and Abgal leaders received Ali Mahdi Mohamed. He has urged the Hawiye to participate in the process.

President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed traveled to Italy to meet with Senator Seri, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and other Italian government officials on a number of issues pertaining to the peace process in Somalia and in particular, the Djibouti Peace Initiative. No official communications on the meetings have been disclosed. However, media reports have highlighted that the Puntland Administration have some concerns on the Djibouti peace initiative and have consequently requested clarifications.

The Somaliland government has declared that they will not participate in the Djibouti conference due to what they termed as 'naive' aspirations inherent in the process; lack of a forum for refining the process by Somalia and no formula for participation of Somaliland representatives.

In a recent government reshuffle, two new ministries have been established in Somaliland. These are the Ministry of Youth and Sport and the Ministry of Industry.

VI. Security Update and Advisories

This report covers the period 25 February - 3 March. For other security reports, please refer to previous weekly updates covering the month of February.

General

Given developments in the Guelleh Peace Process in Djibouti, tension is running high in Somalia due to unresolved issues concerning credentials and constituency representation at the peace and reconciliation table.

South Zone

[LATE) On 24 February, a CARE national staff member was shot in Gabaharey. The circumstances are not clear, but the worker was involved in food distribution in the Gabaharey/Bur Dhubo area. The staff member will apparently recover from his wounds.

Ethiopian commanders have assured the ZSO South of their security support in UN operations in the El Berde area.

Clan tensions remain high in the area between Bu'uale and Hagar/Afmadu. The level of fighting has fallen off, but some there is occasional skirmishing. Bu'uale and the surrounding area are off limits to UN staff.

Kismayo Special Zone

Kismayo is quiet for the moment. Bill Condie, the DCSA is in Kismayo with Mr. Roger Carter of UNICEF. An assessment will be forthcoming.

Central Zone

On 28 February, there was patrol skirmishing between the Sharia and RRA militias in the vicinity of Kurtunwarey in the Lower Shabelle Region. The number of casualties is unknown. Kurtunwarey is off limits to UN staff.

Heavy fighting was reported in the Mahaday District in the Middle Shabelle on 29 February. This clash was between the Abgaal/Agonieh Elle and the Abgaal/Agonieh/Abdullah sub sub clans. Twenty-five were killed and forty wounded in this incident, and the Elle were driven from Mahaday. As a consequence, Jowhar was flooded with wounded persons and IDPs. The Imam of the Abgaal called on Ali Mahdi Mohamed, Musa Sudi and Hussein Bod for a "peace making force". A combined militia force was in fact provided, and arrived in Mahaday at noon on 1 March. Fighting died down, but the Elle are reportedly planning a counterattack. UN staff are advised to remain clear of the Mahaday area.

Skirmishing between the Abgaal Rer Matan and the Abgaal Daud occurred on 28 March. Nothing is known about casualties resulting from this clash. Balad is off limits to UN staff.

On 1 March at 1930 hours, a grenade was thrown over the WHO compound wall in Merka, and exploded near the entrance of the guest house. No one was injured, although some damage was sustained. On the same day, a note was received by the ZSO from the Biyamaal Resistance Movement. This communication indicated that Merka and K-50 airfields are now to be considered "battle zones", and that all international assistance aircraft should avoid them or risk being shot down. [NOTE: The Biyamaal Resistance Movement is apparently allied to the RRA]. As a result of these two events, the UN Designated Official a.i. took the decision to relocate all UN international staff in Merka (less the ZSO). He has directed that UN operation there including aircraft transit and refuel efforts be terminated until further notice. Mr. Bijay Shah, the ZSO who remains in Merka, has been given the option of relocating national staff from the town if required.

Mogadishu

On 28 February, militia elements led by a discharged guard assaulted the INTERSOS Hospital in Mogadishu. [NOTE: This is the last remaining Mother/Child Hospital (MCH) in the city.] Four persons were wounded, and one was killed in the clash. Unconfirmed reports indicate that the hospital was looted. Apparently, there were no casualties among the international staff of INTERSOS, but there is no clarification on national staff casualties.

Northeast Zone

The ZSO, NEZ arrived on 27 February (Mr. Malu Malu Louison of UNHCR).

At 0830 on 29 February, elements of the Bah Garen sub sub clan of the Osman Mahamoud Clan of the Marehan Clan took control of the government house in Bossaso. The issue had to do with perceived ownership and representation at the Djibouti Peace Conference. They were assaulted in the house by Bossaso police, and a two hour firefight ensued. Casualty figures are unknown. In the midst of this firefight, two WHO international staff had to be relocated from their residence/office located across the street from the government house. This was accomplished by the Focal Point Officer a.i., Mr. Eddie Johns, and the ZSO, Mr. Malu Malu Louison. As of 1600 3 March, WHO was able to safely reoccupy their premises.

Northwest Zone

There were no new developments to report during the reporting period.

Prepared by the United Nations Coordination Unit (UNCU), in collaboration with the Chief Security Advisor.

The United Nations Country Team (UNCT) Somalia Monitor is issued out of various reports received from the field. It does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the United Nations. Queries a submissions should be forwarded to the UNCU, Facsimile No: (254-2) 448439 a Telephone No: (254-2) 448433/4, E-mail: undpsorr@form-net.com