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Somalia – ICRC Bulletin No. 04/2007

09-10-2007 Operational Update

Latest report on ICRC activities in the field

  Seed distribution  

The level of food security in central and southern Somalia has deteriorated dramatically since June owing to an inadequate rainy season, ending in May. Because of the poor harvest, many farmers have been unable to set aside seed for the planting season, which usually begins in October. This problem has been compounded by the disruption in trade in the capital, Mogadishu, where the price of basic consumer goods has risen sharply.

    

In late September the ICRC distributed seed, together with food rations for two months (including 48 kg of beans and 24 l of oil per family), to 26,750 poor farmers and displaced families who have access to land. This operation improved food security for 160,750 people facing economic hardship.

" When both food security and livelihoods are threatened, providing seed alone is not enough. Food must be included in the assistance package to prevent people from consuming the seed and to enable them to bridge the gap until the next harvest, " said Mathias Frese, the ICRC's economic security and relief coordinator for Somalia.

Despite the dire situation elsewhere in the country, farmers in areas bordering the rivers Juba and Shabelle brought in a good harvest thanks to flood-recession production. In October 2006, after devastating floods, the ICR C had distributed seed kits to 59,000 households in these areas, enabling them to reap the latest harvest.

    

The ICRC is closely monitoring the threat of renewed flooding during the upcoming rainy season, particularly in areas where river banks have been weakened. It has already distributed 110,000 sandbags in five regions as a preventive measure.

  Treating the wounded in Mogadishu  

Medical facilities in Mogadishu, such as the Keysaney and Medina hospitals, continue to treat dozens of weapon-wounded people every week, with surgeons regularly performing operations night and day. In the first three weeks of September alone, the two hospitals treated 158 wounded. Since the beginning of the year, they have treated a total of 3,387 wounded, including 965 women and children.

In August and September, a four-member surgical team from the Qatar Red Crescent Society, working together with the ICRC and the Somali Red Crescent Society, performed 86 operations in the Keysaney and Medina hospitals. This significantly increased the surgical capacity of the two hospitals and paves the way for future cooperation with the Qatar Red Crescent.

The ICRC's priority in Mogadishu is to assist and support surgical referral facilities. Since January the ICRC has airlifted 102 tonnes of surgical and medical supplies to hospitals in the Somali capital. 

The ICRC regularly reminds all parties involved in the armed conflict of their obligation to ensure that the civilian population is spared the effects of the hostilities and that medical facilities and services are available to all those who require them, whether civilians or wounded fighters. It emphasizes that medical facilities, their staff and aid wor kers are clearly protected under international humanitarian law.

In addition to its emergency programmes, the ICRC continues to carry out other activities, such as providing support for 24 Somali Red Crescent clinics in the country's central and southern regions and hospitals in Mogadishu, building and repairing water-supply systems, conducting agricultural and livelihood projects, handling Red Cross messages and restoring family links.

Present in Somalia since 1977, the ICRC, working in close cooperation with the Somali Red Crescent, remains a key provider of emergency aid to victims of armed conflict and natural disasters in the country.

  Overview of assistance  

Since June 2007, the ICRC has:

    

  • distributed, together with volunteers from the Somali Red Crescent, a third monthly food ration to 225,000 displaced people from Mogadishu now staying in the regions of Mudug, Galgadud, Middle and Lower Shabelle, Lower Juba and Galkayo, and in the Danile district;

  • provided 55,520 people with essential household items, including plastic sheeting, kitchen sets, jerrycans, mats, blankets and clothing, in Lower Juba (including Kismayo), Middle and Lower Shabelle, Galgadud and Gedo;

  • distributed 20,000 mosquito nets to 10,000 families in North Gedo and the Badhade district;

  • handed out 110,000 sandbags for flood prevention in Lower and Middle Shabelle, Gedo and Lower and Middle Juba;

  • rehabilitated two systems for the irrigation of 240 hectares of agricultural land in Hiran;

  • rehabilitated seven gates used to irrigate 700 hectares of agricultural land in Lower Shabelle;

  • distributed vegetable-seed kits to 20,000 farmers in the northern, central and southern regions of the country;

  • treated 890 people for weapon wounds in Mogadishu;

  • in the southern and central regions , renovated 17 hand-dug wells and continued work on 18 others, drilled four boreholes and continued work on four others, rehabilitated six rainwater catchments and continued work on two others;

  • collected over 2,500 Red Cross messages and distributed over 4,120 such messages, and enabled 109 families to locate their relatives.

  For further information, please contact:
  Pedram Yazdi, ICRC Somalia, tel : +254 20 272 39 63 or +254 722 51 81 42
  Bernard Barrett, ICRC Nairobi, tel : +254 20 272 39 63 or +254 722 51 27 28
  Marçal Izard, ICRC Geneva, tel : +41 22 730 2458 or +41 79 217 32 24