UNCT Somalia Monitor 9 - 16 January 1998

from UN Coordination Unit
Published on 16 Jan 1998
9 - 16 January 1998.


Update on Floods in Somalia.

The second phase of the flood emergency 'continued relief and rehabilitation' continues under the overall coordination of the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator with WFP being in charge of logistics and, in cooperation with international and local NGO's, of food aid distribution and with UNICEF as lead agency in the health, water, sanitation, education and EPI sectors of the post-flood intervention. Up to 13 January, at least 1,980 people were reported to have died since the beginning of the flood emergency , at first mainly from drowning and accidents (when buildings collapsed), later on -and by now exclusively - from diseases such as malaria, severe diarrhea/cholera and respiratory infections. Cases of suspected Rift Valley Fever were reported -amongst other locations - from Afgoye, Awdhegle, (Lower Shabelle); Garbaharey (Gedo), Bardera ; Kismayo and Afmadow/Hagar (Lower Juba); Belet Weyne and Jowhar (Hiran / Shabelle). According to WHO, the total number of deaths caused by Rift Valley Fever as of 15 January is estimated to be 31. A task force for Kenya and Somalia has been set up to deal with the suspected RVF outbreak. A team of two Rift Valley Fever experts, one virologist and one epidemiologist, arrived from WHO Headquarters to join the Task Force. Two further experts are expected. They will investigate the extent of the problem, strengthen surveillance and develop control strategies. Meanwhile, educational health messages are being passed on through local print and broadcast media as well as through the BBC Somali Service. So far, no cases of Rift Valley Fever have been reported from the North of Somalia, the outbreak remains confined to the flood affected areas.

For further weekly up-dated information on the flood situation and the response undertaken, see website: www.unicef.unon.org/SOMALIA/flood.html

Cholera/Health Update

A cholera outbreak was confirmed in Mogadishu and Merca. WHO reports that cases in Mogadishu continued to increase. In its latest update on the situation, WHO says that according to reports received via ICRC the number of diarrhea cases received at Benadir Hospital dramatically increased from 5 January : the hospital has since then been receiving over 100 cases per day. 52 people were reported by the hospital to have died since the beginning of the New Year until 11 January. On 10 January, a treatment center was opened in Mogadishu North at Forlanini by MSF-Spain, on 11 January another treatment center opened in South Mogadishu at the Fairground by ACF and a third center was to open in Medina. Cholera supplies were provided by WHO using ECHO funding. The total number of cases at the Forlanini treatment center as of 15 January was 147 with 11 people reported to have died. - In Merca COSV reported a sharp increase in the number of cholera cases: As of 9 January 599 cases were reported in Merca with 15 deaths.. More cases were reported in all parts of Lower Shabelle although these numbers are said to include many cases of non cholera diarrhea. UNICEF and COSV have embarked on an intensive social mobilization and chlorination campaign in all of Lower Shabelle. An outbreak of cholera was also reported in Balad and Afgoi . Data is still awaited. .

Relief and Development by Operational Areas

SOUTHERN ZONE: Normal programme activities continued. Activities of international organizations in the health sector continued to focus on the emerging public health problems related to the flood disaster. Well chlorination and social mobilization regarding cholera awareness are under way. Additional supplies for malaria and diarrhea treatment were distributed in the flood affected areas.

CENTRAL ZONE: Normal programmes in  the relief and development sectors continued. UN/NGOs carried out increased cholera awareness activities, including the chlorination of water sources and social mobilization. During the reporting period, WFP reported to have carried out an overland distribution of 540 metric tones of food aid to Jalalaqsi and Bulo Burti districts in the Hiran region, benefitting 29,000 people.

NORTH WEST ZONE: Normal programme activities continued including cholera preparedness. WHO reports that the final report on the SIDA funded examination of the therapeutic efficacy of chloroquine and sulphadoxine/pyrimetamine was received from Karolinka University. The report indicates a worsening chloroquine resistance in Somaliland.

NORTH EAST ZONE: Normal programme activities continued including cholera preparedness activities.

Political update:

The return of the NSC members to Ethiopia led to discussions on how to realize a united NSC position on the Cairo Declaration on Somalia. A communique issued on 8 January 1998 declared that the NSC would like an amendment of some of the terms of the Cairo Declaration on Somalia. The proposed amendments include (amongst other issues): a specification that the interim charter must be completed in Mogadishu and should include a declaration that all important appointments would be on clan basis; the Prime Minister would only propose a Cabinet while the Presidential Council would appoint; the international community needs to assist in the cantonment of militia all over the country. The factions unanimously agreed on Baidoa as a venue for the upcoming national reconciliation conference but also suggested Bosasso and Mogadishu as alternative venues in case an alternative was needed. The withdrawal of Hussein Aidid=12s forces from Baidoa was fixed at 30 days as opposed to ten days that was earlier agreed upon. Ali Mahdi Mohamed and some NSC members returned to Mogadishu on 16.1.98 and received a tumultuous welcome from his and Osman Ato=12s supporters. Meanwhile, Hussein Aidid is expected to leave Cairo for Mogadishu on or about 20. January.

Security Update:

KISMAYO: The situation in Kismayo and its environs remained tense. On 14 January, a shooting incident was reported at Kismayo airport when a UN relief plane landed alongside a 'Khat' plane. The shooting is believed to have been provoked by the 'Khat' flight. No damages or casualties reported. On 12 January, at least one person died and four others were injured when clashes broke out at an IDP camp in Kismayo town. The situation was later resolved by elders in the area. - The incident in Sakow from 7 January was still under investigation.

GEDO: The overall security situation in Gedo region remained quiet . Negotiations to achieve a peaceful co-existence reportedly began between the SNF and the Al-Itahad movement in the region.

BAY/BAKOOL: The situation in Bay and Bakool regions remained quiet. - On 8 January, clashes were reported to have occurred between rival militia men in Wajid district/ Bakool. No further details reported.

MOGADISHU: Mogadishu remained relatively quiet.- On 13 January, reports indicated that hostile action was threatened in North Mogadishu against any Italian nationals in retaliation for the arrest of a Somali in Rome. The detained Somali had been one of a group of eleven Somalis flown to Rome to testify before an Italian government- appointed probe commission investigating alleged torture committed in Somalia by Italian UN-troops between 1993-94. The detained Somali is suspected of involvement in the killing of Italian television journalist Ilaria Alpi and cameraman Milan Horovatin. As a result of the threat vowed, the Italian Embassy in Nairobi has put out a travel advisory recommending against travel to Mogadishu, Jowhar and Merca.

JOWHAR/BELED WEYN: The situation remained quiet.

BOSASSO/NORTHEAST: The situation in Bossaso and Garowe remained stable.

- On 8 January, at least four people were injured when unidentified men threw a grenade at a hotel in the center of Galkayo town. The local police arrested three suspects. The Kamal hotel is usually frequented by visiting personnel of international organizations.

NORTHWEST: The security situation of Hargeisa, Borama and Berbera remained stable. On 12 January, an earth tremor reportedly shook Borama district. No details of physical damages or casualties reported.

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 Tiyeglo is prohibited until further notice.

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

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

F. Flights and travel of international staff to Gedo and Kismayo are limited to emergency operations only.

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


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 and submissions should be forwarded to the UNCU, Facsimile No: (254-2) 448439 and Telephone No: (254-2) 448434

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