SOMALIA: Urgent assistance plea for 10,000 displaced Mogadishu families

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Civil society and local officials have appealed to charitable organisations to provide aid for at least 60,000 people who fled recent violence in the Somali capital Mogadishu and have been living in difficult conditions on the northwestern outskirts of the city.

"An estimated 10,000 families [60,000 people] are camped around the district, with little or no help coming in," Asha Sha'ur Ugas, a senior member of Mogadishu's civil society groups told IRIN on 23 October.

Sha'ur said the situation of the internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Dayniile District "is becoming increasingly desperate and [they] need urgent assistance”.

"We are surviving on what we received from local charities and Somali businessmen during Ramadan and Eid [festivities that follow Ramadan]," said Amino Siyad, a 50-year-old grandmother who arrived with 26 family members at the Dibiley IDP camp in Dayniile, 15km northwest of Mogadishu, in early September.

Siyad, who was displaced from Huriwa district, north Mogadishu, said it was the second time she had fled her home because of violence in the city.

"I left my house in April and then went back, but left again 45 days ago," she said. "One day it calms down and then it becomes impossible the next day."

She said IDPs were in desperate need of shelter material. "We have nothing to protect us from the elements except leaves and torn plastic."

According to Dayniile district commissioner Haji Omar, the displaced – scattered in 13 camps around the area – were running out of food and urgently required shelter and medicine.

"The ICRC [International Committee of the Red Cross] distributed food rations six months ago; that is the last food distribution we have seen," he said.

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF-France), which runs the local hospital, has been providing water.

MSF-France head of mission for Somalia Jerome Mouton said the agency evacuated its expatriate staff the previous week because of security concerns, but he expected them “to return within the coming days”. He said trucking water for the IDPs had continued, however.

Since intense fighting between Ethiopian-backed government troops and insurgents began in February, at least 1,000 people have reportedly been killed and more than 400,000 displaced.

Source: IRIN