UNCT Somalia Monitor 22 - 29 March 1998

The UNCT Somalia Monitor

Humanitarian Update

Update on Floods in Somalia

The situation for the flood affected areas in Southern Somalia is at a critical stage. According to meteorological experts, there is a high probability of normal to above average rainfall in the upcoming rainy season. A build-up of clouds and light rains have been reported from various locations. In Bardera new rains have already affected the roads. The Somalia Inter-Agency Flood Response Team has asked for immediate, untied funds of US $ 450,000 to be prepared in the case of a new flood emergency: stocks of medicine, blankets, tarpaulins etc have to be replenished to enable immediate action.

For further weekly up-dated information on the flood situation and the response undertaken, see Internet website:

Update on Health Situation

WHO reports that malaria remained the most important cause of suffering and death in Somalia - especially in the flood affected areas. WHO says that reports received from the flood response medical teams in Kismayo indicated that for January alone, 4,714 cases of malaria were attended accounting for 25% of the total death figure. The team estimated that over 500 deaths among the displaced in this area can be attributed to malaria. A malariologist arrived in Somalia last week to assist with the response efforts. A countrywide strategy has been developed and the WHO Director General has released a special fund of US 180,000 to support the program. WHO says that adequate supplies are currently available in the county. - The cholera outbreak seems to have stabilized, with centers continuing to report a few cases per day only. However, cholera cases continued to be reported in Mogadishu, Merca and its environs, Belet Weyne, Baidoa and Jowhar. The total number of cases reported to Who by 26 March was 8,786 and 365 deaths (case fatality rate 4.1%). The overall trend indicates that cases of cholera will continue to be received in Mogadishu, Lower Shabelle and Juba Valley for the next two months. Tremendous effort on safe water and sanitation will be required to rid these areas of cholera. - Measles continued to be reported in Mogadishu. WHO says measles task forces have been established in North and South Mogadishu. An intensified vaccination program has been adopted and is under implementation.

Relief and Development by Operational Areas

SOUTHERN ZONE: Normal programme activities continued with emphasis on post-flood intervention. Cholera awareness campaigns, chlorination of water sources, vaccinations and distribution of anti-malarial drugs continued. On 21 March, UNICEF despatched medical, water and sanitation as well as education supplies to Afmadow for onward distribution to affected villages in several neighbouring areas through the partner NGOs operating in those areas.

CENTRAL ZONE: Normal programme activities continues.

: Normal programme activities continued. On 21 March, the UNICEF office in Bossaso held a one-day training session on the management of EPI activities for trainees from two partner NGOs: one from Gardo and the other from Iskushuban. On 28 March, UNHCR started its repatriation of Somali refugees from Kenya's Dadaab camps to Bosasso. The first 121 refugees were repatriated on 28 March on board of a UNHCR chartered C-130 aircraft. In total, UNHCR expects to repatriate more than 700 refugees over a period of one week.

NORTHWEST: Normal programme activities continued. WHO reports that training of case management for malaria is presently underway in all regions of the North West. The areas covered so far are Awdal, Galbeed and Burao. Sool and Sanaag will be covered within the next two weeks.

Political Update

On 24 March, Ali Mahdi and Hussein Aideed met at Sahafi hotel in South Mogadishu and agreed that the process of setting up a joint administration for Mogadishu and Benadir region needed to be accelerated. They appointed various working committees to organize the planned National Reconciliation Conference in Baidoa which had been re-scheduled for 31 March.

On 25 March, a senior NSC member, Col Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed told the BBC in an interview that his group would not attend the Baidoa conference because it had not accepted the call for a postponement of the conference in the first place. Subsequently - as he put it - the agreement of meeting in Baidoa was considered "null and void" by him.

On 25 March, a special meeting of the Joint IGAD Partners Forum took place in Addis Ababa to discuss the future steps on Somalia. The meeting had been called by the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and was co-chaired by the Ambassador of Italy and the Ambassador of Djibouti in Ethiopia. The meeting discussed convening an international conference on the peace process for Somalia that would not only include faction leaders but also members of the "civil society". Many participants felt, however, that big peace conferences would not render any results. Italy announced that it would hold a meeting of IGAD Partners to which Egypt would be invited on 4 May in Rome.

On 20 March, Mohamed Hagi Ibrahim Egal of "Somaliland" addressed residents of Hargeisa in Khayria Square on issues regarding his foreign policy. In this context, he strongly criticized IGAD's policy towards "Somaliland". He said he was planning to establish closer relations with Gulf countries rather than IGAD and East African countries.

Security Update

KISMAYO : The overall security situation remained tense. A large presence of SNF and SNA militia close to the city is still being reported. There is a possibility of an imminent attack on Kismayo by SNF forces. Travel restrictions for UN planes and international staff to Kismayo remain in place. Equally, restrictions on ground and air relief operations to Sakow remain in place as a result of a serious shooting incident on 13 March.

GEDO : The security situation in the Gedo region remained tense as clashes continued between Al-Ittihad and SNF forces over control of El-Wak town along the Kenya/Somali border. On 25 March, SNF forces reportedly continued to mobilize militia and started to confiscate all civilian trucks and cars, including those of NGOs in Lugh and Bulohawa districts. Al-Ittihad continues to control and hold El Wak.

BAY/BAKOOL: The security situation in Baidoa and Hoddur towns remained unchanged.

MOGADISHU: Mogadishu remained quiet but tense with continued incidents of banditry and revenge killings. Militia control the streets. Three convoys with humanitarian aid were attacked with heavy weapons and partially looted: On 19 March, a UNICEF convoy was attacked and looted. On 24 March, at least three people died and seven others were injured when heavily armed militia men attacked a WFP food convoy travelling along 21 October road in south Mogadishu. In another incident on the same day, militia men seized three trucks after ambushing a relief convoy carrying food aid donated by Saudi Arabia. Numerous checkpoints along the greenline and in other parts of the city have re-emerged. The main seaport and airport remained closed.

JOWHAR/BELED WEYN: Jowhar, Beled Weyn, and related villages remained quiet.

BOSASSO/NORTHEAST: The situation in Bossaso, Garowe, and Galkayo remained quiet. On 22 March, Somali militia men on boats armed with machine guns attacked a commercial ship destined for the port of Hobyo, killing the Pakistani captain of the ship and hijacking the ship. Latest reports indicate that the ship has been released by the pirates and safely docked at Bossaso port. The body of the captain was reportedly flown back to Pakistan.

HARGEISA/NORTHWEST: The situation in Hargeisa, Berbera and Borama remained quiet.

Security Advisories

A. Travel to Mogadishu, Bay, and Bakool regions remains restricted on the basis of UN Phase 5 status.

B. Travel to these areas requires approval of both the UN Designated Official and UNSECOORD.

C. Travel of UN International staff to Sakow and Jamame is prohibited until further notice.

D. Travel to Kismayo is being temporarily prohibited to international staff.

E. UN international staff road travel to Las Anod and Erigavo is restricted.

F. The Jowhar/Jalalaqsi road remains restricted to UN International staff.

G. Travel to Somalia by UN international staff requires prior security clearance from the Designated Official.

H. The Garisa-Dadab road in Kenya is closed to traffic due to high incidents of banditry, but for Garisa based operations, all convoys must have a prior security clearance and accompanied by one escort vehicle.

I. Each UN vehicle must make sure that it is equipped with HF radio.

by the United nations coordination unit (UNCU), in collaboration with the Chief Security Advisor. 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 and submissions should be forwarded to the UNCU, Facsimile No: (254-2) 448439 and Telephone No: (254-2) 448434

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