Islamic Relief (IR) and 40 other aid agencies have warned of an unfolding humanitarian crisis in Somalia as fighting intensifies in the capital city of Mogadishu.
The growing troubles in Somalia are making it increasingly difficult for aid agencies to provide humanitarian assistance at a time when people are in desperate need.
Over the past week around 90,000 people have fled Mogadishu, many streaming out of the city on foot or by horse-drawn cart. Forty-seven thousand displaced people have settled on the roads leading out of the city, where they are living in makeshift shelters with limited access to food, water and sanitation facilities.
Since the beginning of this year, around 450,000 people have been displaced by the fighting.. There are also a further 400,000 long-term internally displaced people who left their homes during conflict in the 1990s and have never returned.
Many displaced people live in settlements where they lack access to all basic services such as shelter, water and healthcare. The new influx of displaced people from the latest wave of fighting in Mogadishu is straining the coping mechanisms of host communities. This has aggravated the humanitarian situation further.
It is now the middle of the rainy season in Somalia which is making conditions difficult for those who lack adequate shelter. Although the rains are a blessing for some, they also bring with them the threat of serious waterborne diseases such as cholera.
Few aid agencies left
Continuous conflict is blocking the ability of aid workers to deliver the help that is needed. However, IR and other aid agencies working in Somalia are warning that unless there is action now, the situation could escalate into a major humanitarian crisis.
“Unfortunately the security situation has deteriorated to the level it was earlier in the year and looks set to get even worse. Only a few aid agencies including Islamic Relief are able to work there now,” said Shihab Babiker, Country Director Islamic Relief Somalia.
“The greatest needs amongst the displaced people are drinking water and food. As the rains have now started, shelter is also becoming a priority.
“Islamic Relief is providing water to two camps in Afgoy and has just completed a 6 month project with ECHO providing over 15,500 displaced people with food, clean water, shelter and emergency health care via a mobile clinic.”
IR in Somalia
A displaced family inside their makeshift shelter
Islamic Relief has been working in Somalia since 2006 and has offices in Mogadishu, and Garowe and Ba’adweyn in Puntland.
IR is supporting displaced people camping around Mogadishu and Galkayo, providing them with food, water, shelter and emergency medical care.
We have recently completed a six month project with ECHO providing over 15,500 internally displaced people with essential services, and are currently working with Christian Aid and CAFOD to provide around 6,450 people with emergency food.
IR long-term development projects include:
- Rehabilitation and construction of health clinics in Dangorayo and Ba’adweyn
- Training health workers
- Rehabilitating water supplies and constructing new boreholes in Ba’adweyn
- Providing training on water hygiene
- Construction of a new secondary school in Ba’adweyn, and repairing damage and improving facilities in many other primary and secondary schools.
IR also runs an orphans sponsorship programme in the Puntland. Around 250 children are currently being supported by donors around the world. Sponsorship gives children the opportunity to go to school and ensures that they have enough food and access to medical care.