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Update No. 96/01 on ICRC activities in Somalia

18-04-1996 Operational Update


Since mid-March tensions have been escalating in southern Somalia between the forces of General Aideed and those of Osman Ato. The latter are occupying certain key strategic areas in south Mogadishu, and General Aideed has returned from Baidoa to Mogadishu for the first time in eight months to deal with this situation. Fighting broke out on 4 April, and in the following 48 hours there were heavy civilian casualties. Between 60 and 80 people died as a result of shelling, and approximately 450 were wounded. Although the fighting has abated, tensions have remained extremely high and there were further outbreaks of fighting on 16 April. The ICRC is continuing to monitor what it considers an extremely critical situation and is concerned that the fighting may spread.

 The Somali Red Crescent responds  

The Somalia Red Crescent Society (SRCS) played a key role in assisting victims during the fighting, evacuating the wounded across the front lines to hospitals in the south of the city. A further 100 wounded were taken to the SRCS's Keysaney hospital in the north. Six SRCS field officers were slightly wounded during these evacuations.

 ICRC medical activities  

The ICRC, together with the SRCS, immediately delivered emergency medical supplies to Keysaney hospital in the north and to Digfer and Shifo hospitals in the south. A total of 1.3 tonnes of medical supplies were distributed during this emerge ncy period. Local ICRC staff visited other private hospitals and clinics in the area once the fighting had subsided in order to assess requirements for further medical assistance. As a result, the ICRC decided to fly in extra emergency medical supplies. 

On the weekend of 13 April, a Hercules flew in 17.5 tonnes of medical supplies, including dressings, i.v. fluids and antibiotics, for distribution in both north and south Mogadishu. Medical delegates were sent to south Mogadishu last weekend to carry out a full assessment of all hospitals. The team is to evaluate the most immediate needs.