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Somalia – ICRC Bulletin No. 03/2007

25-07-2007 Operational Update No 07/03

Latest report on ICRC activities in the field

 Somalia: ICRC continues emergency operations to help victims of the conflict  

Fighting in Mogadishu during recent months has forced tens of thousands of families to leave the capital, seeking refuge in safer parts of central and southern Somalia. Armed violence continues daily in Mogadishu, with serious humanitarian consequences.

Weapon-related injuries remain a source of great concern to the ICRC. The two main hospitals in Mogadishu, Medina and Keysaney, treat dozens of people injured by shrapnel and bullets almost every day. Somali medical personnel in ICRC-supported hospitals are very busy: " Working conditions are not easy, but the staff is very motivated, working 24 hours a day, under difficult conditions. They are doing a great job, " says ICRC nurse Suzanne Grognuz.

In April and May, the ICRC and the Somali Red Crescent provided two months’ worth of food for 210,000 people and essential household items for 350,000. The ICRC also distributed safe drinking water to 60,000 people over a period of several months. Since January, an ICRC aircraft has carried out 82 rotations between Nairobi and Somalia transporting staff, medical cargo and other aid.


 Living far away from home  


For those displaced from their homes in Mogadishu and elsewhere, life is particularly difficult. Far away from their homes, jobs and often their families, they st ruggle to cope with everyday life. The ICRC's assistance has helped, and many residents of the regions hosting the displaced have shared their meagre resources with the new arrivals.

It is important to help these displaced people support themselves again as soon as possible. Close links with their clans is what brought many Somalis to Mogadishu in the first place. They came in search of an income, hoping to offer a better life to their families back home. Now they need alternatives to the jobs they had before the fighting.

The story of Anab is not unusual. She had to flee the fighting and currently shares a makeshift corrugated-iron shelter with one of her two daughters. The other is in Al-Kharaz, a refugee camp in Yemen where thousands of Somalis have taken refuge. The ICRC regularly collects messages from Somali refugees in Yemen, keeping them in touch with their families. " My daughter sends me long letters, I read them again and again – until the next Red Cross message comes, " says Anab.


 The ICRC's assistance in June and the first part of July 2007:  
  • In July, the ICRC and volunteers from the Somali Red Crescent distributed a third monthly food ration to 225,000 people, mainly displaced families from Mogadishu currently staying in Mudug, Galgadud, Middle and Lower Shabelle, Lower Juba and Galkayo regions and in Danile district.
  • More than 30,000 people received essential household items in Kismayo and Jilib districts, including plastic sheeting, kitchen sets, jerrycans, mats, blankets and clothing.
  • 16 tonnes of medical and surgical supplies were airlifted to Mogadishu to re-supply medical and surgical facilities. Since January, ICRC-supported medical facilities have treated more than 3,200 people wounded by weapons, of whom about 1,000 were either children under fifteen or women.
  • In June, an ICRC surgical team ran a two-day seminar in Mogadishu on war surgery techniques, attended by 17 surgeons from private and public health facilities in Galkayo, Baidoa, Merka and Mogadishu.
  • In Southern and Central regions, work continues on renovating 35 hand-dug wells and drilling 8 boreholes, plus the assessment of 5 rainwater catchments that may be renovated in the future. These projects will benefit an estimated 180,000 people.
  • Over 1,000 Red Cross messages were collected and more than 700 distributed. ICRC tracing services enabled 54 families to find their relatives.

      See also Fact Sheet on ICRC emergency responses in Somalia during 2006-2007.  
    For further information, please contact:
      Pedram Yazdi, ICRC Somalia, tel: +254 20 272 39 63 or +254 722 51 81 42
      Nicole Engelbrecht, ICRC Nairobi, tel: +254 20 272 39 63 or +254 722 51 27 28
      Anna Schaaf, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 2271 or +41 79 217 32 17