Somalia

Weekly Humanitarian Bulletin, Issue #16, 15-21 April 2011

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Key Overall Developments

Al Shabaab loots OCHA office assets

On 19 April, Al Shabaab forces entered the UN Common Compound (UNCC) in Baidoa, Bay region, and looted all OCHA office assets. Al Shabaab also allegedly banned OCHA from operating in areas under its control. The reason behind the group’s action against OCHA is still unknown. This is the first time Al Shabaab has targeted OCHA directly. OCHA has not had a physical presence in Baidoa since 2009.

Drought/Coordination updates

On 17 April, an inter-agency field monthly coordination meeting took place in Garowe, Puntland, to discuss the drought situation and response. During the meeting, UNHCR reported that there was an increase in displacement due to the drought into urban centres in Bari, Karkaar, Sool and Sanaag, Nugaal and Mudug regions. Water responses through the voucher system and agriculture & livelihood programmes are already ongoing in various locations of Puntland.

Conflict and Displacement

Gedo & Juba regions: On 19 April, fighting broke out in Buusaar village, 40km east of Ceel Waaq town, between forces allied to the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and Al Shabaab. Displacement occurred but the exact numbers could not be verified. On the same day, more fighting was reported in Tabto village, 45km from Dhoobly town in Lower Juba.

UNHCR reports approximately 38,800 displacements have occurred countrywide since 23 February. Of these, 25,000 were due to insecurity and 10,800 were due to the drought. The majority of the displaced, 20,000 were from Mogadishu with 9,600 leaving the city and 10,400 moving to relatively safer areas of the city.

Mixed Migration Task Force

Concern among Protection Cluster members remains high over the continuing arrival of people fleeing the ongoing civil unrest in Yemen. More than 420 people have returned to Somalia since January with the majority being Somalis originally from Puntland and south central regions. Unconfirmed reports say significant numbers of Somalis in Yemen intend to return. A contingency plan is being developed by the Mixed Migration Task Force on how to assist the returnees should the numbers increase. By March 2011, more than 3,800 Somalis had made the dangerous crossing to Yemen by boat so far this year. In comparison to the same time in previous years, there has been a decline in the crossings. This is attributed to the crackdown on smugglers by the Puntland Government and the shift of the crossing point from Bossaso to Djibouti, where the crossing distance is shorter and safer.

Child Protection

Child recruitment and the use of children on the frontline continue to be a major protection concern in central and southern Somalia. The number of child combatants running away from armed groups and surrendering to the government is reportedly on the rise. Nearly 100 children are currently under the protection of the TFG, the majority of who are believed to be under 18 years of age. These children are in need of immediate humanitarian assistance and physical protection. Negotiations are ongoing with the government and partners to ensure that these children are treated in accordance with international humanitarian and human rights law, that they are separated from the adults and that their basic needs, including access to food, water and medical assistance, are met. Beyond the emergency response, medium and long-term rehabilitation programmes are being discussed with relevant partners.

Funding update

OCHA has cleared 72 projects out of 90 provisionally approved projects (19 UN and 71 NGO projects) under the second standard allocation of the CHF. Some 10 UN projects out of 19 have already received their funding. Out of the total 71 NGO projects, 10 projects are in Geneva awaiting funding disbursement. The aim is to clear all projects by the end of April and to have the bulk of disbursements completed in late April, with only a residual number of projects pending in May.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.